Olympic and world 10000m champion Kenenisa Bekele comfortably defended his African 5000m title with an outstanding sprint finish to lead a rush for medals for hosts Ethiopia on the final day of the 16th CAA African Athletics Championships.
The 25-year old, who had skipped the 10000m a few days earlier, recovered in time from the excursions of winning a sixth successive world cross country title a month ago in Edinburgh with a hard-fought victory over Kenyan Isaac Songok.
“It was very, very tough today because of the altitude,” said Bekele. “Since the World Cross Country Championship I have had to take 10 days of training off and I have only been back in training for 20 days. This is why I was not sure I would run today and track is very different to cross country, but I had to do it in front of my own people, because they really wanted to see me. When me and Haile hugged on his lap of honour he wished me luck”
Also on the final day, Zemzem Ahmed smashed the Addis Ababa stadium record to lead a one-two with compatriot Mekdes Bekele in the women’s 3000m steeplechase, while Asnakech Ararsa won silver in the women’s 20km.
It was a successful day for Kenya who won three gold medals: the women’s 20km walk, the women’s 800m, and the men’s 1500m courtesy of Grace Wanjiru, Pamela Jelimo, and Harun Keitany in that order.