Melkamu wins women’s 5000m

The Ethiopian prevails to clinch the African title.


Meselech Melkamu in action [GALLO/GETTY]

Meselech Melkamu of Ethiopia upset an ailing Meseret Defar in the women’s 5,000-metre race at the African Athletics Championships.

Melkamu won in 15 minutes, 49 seconds, one second ahead of both Defar and third-place finisher Grace Momanyi of Kenya.

Defar, who holds the world record in the event, led early but fell behind about halfway through the race. She collapsed after finishing and then had ice applied to her right ankle.

Defar then stood up and took a few steps before doubling over in pain and vomiting on the track.

Nigerian runners dominated in the short-distance races. Olusoji Fasuba won the men’s 100 and Uchenna Emedolu was second. Damola Osayomi won the women’s 100.

Guinea won its first medal when Fatama Fofana won the women’s 100 hurdles.

Bekele lacked rest

Earlier Thursday, Olympic 10,000-metre champion Kenenisa Bekele said that he pulled out of the African championships because he didn’t have enough time to rest before the event.

“It was a very short time for preparation,” said Bekele, who won his record sixth world cross-country title in March.

“After cross-country, minimum, I need six weeks. It was not enough time for me.”

The 25-year-old Bekele, who holds the world record in the event, pulled out of the race Wednesday.

But he said he was still confident that he would be running in the 10,000 at the Beijing Olympics.

Haile Gebrselassie also skipped the race, but Ethiopia still managed to sweep the top three spots.

Source: News Agencies