By David Monti
(c) 2012 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.
Races & Athlete Interviews | Results | Day 2 Recap
EUGENE, ORE. (01-Jun) -- Wilson Kiprop, who in 2010 won gold medals at both the African Championships at 10,000m and the IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships, will get a chance to add an Olympic medal to his collection after winning the Kenyan Men's 10,000m Olympic Trials here tonight at Hayward Field in rainy conditions. He clocked a personal best and world-leading time of 27:01.98, a remarkable result for a race without pacemakers.
"No, no, no, I never thought I could win because there were 14 Kenyans that were here were all very strong," an elated Kiprop told reporters after the race. He continued: "It was not easy. I could not imagine that I would win the race today."
Kiprop, 25, spent the entire race close to the front, trading off the lead with Emmanuel Bett, Eliud Kipchoge, Mike Kigen and Bitan Karoki. There were constant lead changes, but both Kiprop and Kipchoge were always near the front.
The half-way split was reached in 13:43.81, and any one of ten men were still in contention. But at 5200m, Moses Masai decided to increase the pace. He ran a 63.4 second lap through 5600m, and stretched out the field. Kiprop knew that all of the men were strong because they were in a central training camp in Eldoret prior to coming to Eugene.
"They were very strong, my colleagues, because we have been in one camp, training all together," Kiprop explained.
With 6 laps to go in the 25-lap race, Kiprop led with Kipchoge and Karoki. They went through 8000m in 21:48.35, then 24:28.53 for 9000m, a 2:40.18 kilometer. Masai was on the front and really pushing. He had raced only once this year outside of Kenya, at the World's Best 10-K in Puerto Rico, and he felt fresh.
"I did not go in any race from Puerto Rico up to now," Masai said. "I was preparing for this race, and now I have done it."
Masai ran the penultimate lap in 63.55 with Kiprop and Karoki in hot pursuit, and that was enough to force Kipchoge to give up (he would finish seventh). Masai took the bell and was clearly running even faster. That left Karoki in third position where he would finish (27:05.50 PB), providing the crowd at Hayward with a two-man battle for the win. Coming out of the final turn, Kiprop showed his best speed, completing a 58-second lap to beat Masai by 27/100ths of a second in the final dash for the line.
Moments after the race, the president of Athletics Kenya, Isaiah Kiplagat, addressed reporters and declared that the top-3 finishers had made the Kenyan Olympic team.
"As you know we came to Eugene to make selection for the Kenyan team, 10,000m for the London Olympics," Kiplagat said. "We are pleased that we have not been disappointed. I mean, with no pacemakers the times returned were quite impressive. We are quite happy that we have the best of the three. So, as we say, Kiprop, of course, Wilson, and Masai and Karoki are the three named to the London Olympics."
A Kenyan man has not won the Olympic 10,000m title since Naftali Temu in 1968.
DIBABA IMPRESSES IN WOMEN'S 10,000M
Despite suffering from a side stitch, Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba won the women's 10,000m in a world-leading 30:24.39, prevailing in a three-way battle against Kenya's Florence Kiplagat (30:24.85) and Ethiopia's Beleynesh Oljira (30:26.70). Dibaba said that the rain bothered her.
"The water made my stomach feel pain," Dibaba said through an interpreter. She added: "It was very painful. God helped me out and I was not going to lose."
Although not a binding trial, Dibaba's performance was likely good enough for her to gain Olympic selection and defend her 10,000m title in London in August.
In other action at "Hollister Night at Hayward," Alice Schmidt held off reigning world 1500m champion Jenny Simpson in the National 1500m, 4:05.64 to 4:06.10. Schmidt, better known as an 800m runner, was thrilled with her victory.
"My PR before this race was 4:08-low, so to run 4:05, maybe point-six, is awesome," Schmidt told reporters. "A big PR for me and it was a great race!"
Alysia Montano, the fourth place finisher at last summer's IAAF World Championships at 800m, made an impressive run in her specialty here tonight. The only runner to go with the pacemaker Heather Kampf, Montano went through half-way in 55.5, then powered home in 1:57.37, a stadium record. Geena Gall (1:59.28) and Melissa Bishop of Canada (1:59.82) also broke two minutes.
"It was a nice, first 800," a confident Montano said. "I feel great. It was a very nice run and I executed the way I wanted to, the way that I planned."
Kenya's James Magut won the International Mile in 3:54.16, holding off a late charge by Russell Brown (3:54.48). World Championships bronze medalist Matthew Centrowitz finished eight in 3:57.44.
PREFONTAINE CLASSIC CONTINUES TOMORROW
The primary section of the Prefontaine Classic, part of the Samsung Diamond League, continues here tomorrow. The big match-up in the distance events will be Mo Farah running against Kenenisa Bekele in the 5000m.