Samuel Tefera Upsets Yomif Kejelcha, Breaks 1500m WR

Ethiopian Samuel Tefera broke the world record in the 1500m on Saturday, running 3:31.04 in Birmingham, England to better Hicham El Guerrouj’s mark of 3:31.18 from 1997. 

Tefera, 19, flew past pre-race favorite Yomif Kejelcha on the final curve after tracking Kejelcha the entire race. Kejelcha, who missed the indoor mile world record by .01 last week at the Millrose Games, ran 3:31.58 for second place. 

After Kejelcha's impressive winter of racing, the world record was the stated target for Saturday. An ambitious 1:52 split was planned for the 800m mark. The pacers, first Bram Som and then Jordan Williamsz, hit their target with a time of 1:52.70 through four laps. 

After a 1000m split of 2:21.27, Williamsz stepped off and Kejelcha was at the front. Unlike Millrose Games, however, he had company. Tefera, the 2018 World Indoor Championships gold medalist, latched on to Kejelcha. The two hit the bell at 3:03 and Tefera looked poised to strike. He waited until the final 100 meters, passing Kejelcha on the curve. Tefera's lead grew as he entered the homestretch and Kejelcha was unable to rally back.

Kejelcha's mark was the third-fastest indoor 1500m of all-time. Both he and Tefera set overall 1500m personal bests as well. 

This isn't the first time Kejelcha has assisted a historically fast time. At last summer's Diamond League final, Kejelcha went to the front of the pack with 2000m remaining. He ultimately placed third, but his aggressive running helped set-up the deepest men's 5000m in history.  


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