Haile Gebrselassie finishes seventh in the 10,000m while Phillips Idowu and Hannah England are among the winners in Hengelo
He may have been playing down his ambitions of making the Ethiopian team in the 10,000m, but at the very least a small part of Haile Gebrselassie will have deserately wanted to gain selection in that event for the London Olympics, having missed out in the marathon.
But ultimately his hopes were dashed at the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games in Hengelo, in a race that doubled up as the Ethiopian trial race. The 1996 and 2000 Olympic champion, competing in his first 10,000m track race for four years, was in contention with the leaders for much of the race, but when it came down to the kick finish over the final lap, he was found wanting.
Making his debut over the distance, Tariku Bekele – brother of Olympic champion Kenenisa – won in 27:11.70 from fellow Ethiopian and former African junior champion Lilesa Desisa, who set a PB of 27:11.98. They are now both in line to join defending champion Kenenisa Bekele on the 10,000m for London.
Two-time Olympic silver medallist Sileshi Sihine was third (27:12.60) from 2010 New York Champion Gebre Gebremariam (27:13.66). Gebrselassie, meanwhile, was further back in seventh in 27:20.39 – his time being a world age-39 best.
“The Games in London is over for me,” he said after the race. “I ran a good race until the last lap. I felt good but I didn’t have the speed to compete against my rivals.
“That’s life. I am not disappointed,” said Gebrselassie, who added that this would be his final track race. “The ‘spikes’ are finished for me. I am 39. I have failed to qualify for the Olympics. And there is a very strong younger generation in Ethiopia now.
“I tried to qualify for my fifth Olympics. And I don’t regret trying to do so. I simply came up against stronger rivals on Sunday.”
European champion Phillips Idowu notched up another victory, winning the triple jump with a season’s best and stadium record of 17.31m. Training partner Nathan Douglas, competing in his first competition after being sidelined for almost two years with injuries, finished a solid seventh with 16.46m.
Hannah England came from way behind in the women’s 1500m to win convincingly with her fastest ever season opener in the event, clocking 4:04.05. Less than a second behind in third, 20-year-old Laura Weightman smashed her personal best by three seconds to post an Olympic A standard of 4:04.88. In doing so, she beat fellow Britons Charlene Thomas (seventh in 4:07.06) and Steph Twell (13th in 4:09.59).
This time last year, few people had ever heard of Luguelin Santos, but over the past eight months the teenager from the Dominican Republic has established himself as one of the most exciting 400m talents in the world.
Having finished second to LaShawn Merritt in Doha and Ostrava this month, Santos was a class apart in Hengelo and won by more than half a second from Britain’s Martyn Rooney. Not only was Santos’s time of 44.45 a senior Dominican national record, but it is also a world age-18 best and is the third-best ever time by a junior athlete.
Rooney, meanwhile, recorded another sub-45 clocking with 44.97 to defeat world indoor champion Nery Brenes (45.20).
Nixon Chepseba became the third Kenyan this year to break 3:30 in the 1500m, winning in 3:29.90. 19-year-old Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti set a national record of 3:30.31 in second, while Britain’s Ross Murray – having already made a big breakthrough last week – took another two seconds off his best to achieve the Olympic A standard with 3:34.76.
Former world champion Janeth Jepkosgei produced a confident run in the 800m to win in 1:57.79, extending her span of sub-1:58 seasons to eight years. Cuban rising star Yuneisy Santiusty set a PB of 1:58.53 in second from Ugandan youngster Annet Negesa (1:59.02). Britain’s Marilyn Okoro ran her fastest 800m for four years with 1:59.33 in fourth, while Emma Jackson was sixth (2:00.42).
USA’s Ronnie Ash won the 110m hurdles in 13.31 (-0.6m/s) while Britain’s Andy Pozzi enjoyed another fine run with 13.39 in second.
Elsewhere, Adam Kszczot won the 800m in 1:43.83 from 17-year-old Kenyan Timothy Kitum (1:44.00), Churandy Martina gave the home fans a victory in the 100m with 10.18, and two-time Robert Harting was an easy winner of the men’s discus with 68.13m.