Fana: At a Speed of Life!

Ethiopian athletes light up the World Indoor Tour in Torun

Addis Ababa, February 6, 2024 (FBC) – Ethiopian athletes have registered commanding victories in different categories this evening at the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting in Torun, Poland.

Orlen Copernicus Cup, one of the World Athletics Indoor Tour, was held in the Polish city of Torun on Tuesday February 6 where Ethiopian runners registered world lead victories in different distances.

In the men’s 3000m, Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega set a world lead and meeting record in the 3000m in a brilliant display of front running, holding off Olympic and world 3000m steeplechase fourth-place finisher Getnet Wale.

With the pacemaker peeling away with six laps to go, it looked like anyone’s race as Wale tracked his fellow Ethiopian every step of the way. But, with two laps to go, Wale began to show visible signs of fatigue and the strength of Olympic 10,000m champion Barega told.

The world indoor champion maintained his form right to the finish, sprinting home in 7:25.82 as Wale clocked 7:26.73 – respectively the fifth and ninth fastest times in history. Ireland’s Darragh McElhinney was third in 7:54.02.

“I expected a good performance here,” said Barega. “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.”

Both women’s middle distance races also produced world leads and 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.

Hailu, 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.

Hailu regained the lead with 400m remaining and Welteji then led at the bell, but Hailu 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. Welteji followed her in 3:55.47 as Meshesha 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 African’s Tshepo Tshite to win in 3:34.61. With his time of 3:34.83, 17-year-old Mehary improved the world U20 record.

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