Selemon Barega on his way to 3000m victory in Torun (Image © Sergio Mateo Maria)

Selemon Sets 3000m Meeting Record as Ethiopian Athletes Impress in Poland

Selemon Barega set a world lead and meeting record in the men’s 3000m as Ethiopian athletes shine bright on a pulsating evening at the ORLEN Copernicus Cup in Torun, Poland, on Tuesday.

Selemon crossed the finishing line in 7:25.82 ahead of his compatriot and world 3000m steeplechase fourth-place finisher Getnet Wale who clocked 7:26.73 at at the latest World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting. Ireland’s Darragh McElhinney was third in 7:54.02.

“I expected a good performance here,” said Olympic 10,000m champion Selemon.

“My training has been going very well and I have good speed. I set a PB at 1500m here three years ago, so this is a fast track. The world record is possible, but it is sometimes easier to run behind another athlete.”

According the to world athletics, both women’s middle distance races also produced world leads.

In the 1500m the top three, Freweyni Hailu, Diribe Welteji and Hirut Meshesha achieved times that place them third, fourth and fifth respectively on the world all-time list.

Freweyni, fourth at the Tokyo Olympics, and world silver medallist Diribe Welteji had a game of cat and mouse, with Welteji seemingly taking charge with three laps left.

Freweyni regained the lead with 400m remaining and Diribe then led at the bell, but Freweyni made the decisive burst with 100m to go. She ran strongly to the finish to win by 0.19 in 3:55.28 – moving her to No.3 all time. Diribe followed her in 3:55.47 as Hirut was third in 3:56.47. The top 10 athletes all set indoor personal bests

Three-time world indoor finalist Habitam Alemu fed off an enthralled crowd as she won the women’s 800m in a superb world lead of 1:57.86, shaving 0.01 off Keely Hodgkinson’s one-year-old meeting record.

She took over on the penultimate lap and immediately stretched out the chasing pack. Fellow Ethiopian Worknesh Mesele was next home in 1:59.93, a personal best.

In the men’s 1500m, twice world indoor gold medallist Samuel Tefera ran a composed race to win his first race of the season. He made the decisive break with 100m to go, bursting past fellow Ethiopian Biniam Mehary and South Africa’s Tshepo Tshite to win in 3:34.61.