Letesenbet Holds off Kenyan challenge to Win 10,000m Title

ADDIS ABABA – Athlete Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia won gold in a tight women’s 10,000 meters on Saturday at the World Athletics Championships. 

The world record holder held off challenges from Kenyan athletes,  Hellen Obiri and Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi, and also overcame her nemesis Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands in a terrific finish.

Letesenbet’s finishing time of 30:9.94 was just ahead of Obiri in second place with a time of 30:10.02. Kipkemboi finished third in 30:10.07.

Olympic and defending world champion Hassan ran out of gas in the final straight to finish fourth.

The victory – eight wins from the last 12 world championships10,000 finals for Ethiopia – added the first global title to Letesenbet’s CV at the third time of asking, having taken world silver in Doha in 2019 and Olympic bronze in Tokyo last year as Hassan sprinted to the golds.

In June last year, she became the fastest woman in history over 25 laps, obliterating Hassan’s two-day-old world record of 29:06.82 with a stunning 29:01.03 in the Ethiopian Olympic trial race in Hengelo in the Netherlands.

“The dream came true, this victory is even more important to me than a world record,” Letesenbet told Reuters. 

“I was thinking about winning this gold since 2019 but Hassan was always there. I was also watching Obiri. This time, I was really watching them and I knew I had to be very fast in the last 300m,” the 24 years-old added.

Already the first woman since Norway’s Ingrid Kristiansen to hold the 5000m and 10,000m world records, Letesenbet will go for a double at the World Championships.

“I have the next dream now – to win the gold at 5000m,” she said. “With God’s help, I can get the double, I am very confident now.”

Only two women have accomplished the feat before at the World Championships: Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba in Helsinki in 2005 and in Osaka in 2007 and Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot in Daegu in 2011.

Featured Image Caption: Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia wins the women’s 10000-meter run final at the World Athletics Championships on Saturday, July 16, 2022, in Eugene, Ore. (Photo AP/Ashley Landis)

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