Ethiopia: Edris and Doroba Secure 5000m Gold At Junior Champs

He dedicated it to the people of his native Ethiopia.

By Chris Lotsbom

Muktar Edris leads the pack in the 5000m at the IAAF Junior Championships. Photo: Getty Images

16-July (Competitor) — Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris won the men’s 5000m this evening on the penultimate day of the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, giving the East African nation a clean sweep of the gold medals in this discipline. Edris joins compatriot Buze Diriba, who won the women’s 5000m on Wednesday, at the top of the podium.

“I dedicate my gold to the people of Ethiopia,” Edris told the IAAF shortly after his victory. Running in the front through one and two kilometers, Edris seemed poised and in position to take the title.

Between the third and fourth kilometer (3000m was hit in 8:19.38), Edris regained the lead from Eritrea’s Abrar Osman Adem. Fending off a number of competitors, the 18-year-old won in 13:38.95.

Edris said his idol is the great Haile Gebrselassie, someone he hopes to emulate as his career goes on.

“I am looking up to him. I spoke already sometimes to him,” said Edris, talking with the IAAF. Gebrselassie was himself a IAAF World Junior Champion, winning the 1992 5000m and 10,000m titles in what were then championship record times. His mark in the 5000m that year (13:36.06) is just over two seconds faster than Edris’s mark today.

Buze Diriba prevailed in the women’s 5000m

Buze Diriba (left) prevailed in the women’s 5000m at the IAAF World Junior Championships. Photo: IAAF.

In the lone distance final contested on the second day of the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Buze Diriba took home the women’s 5000m gold medal, running 15:32.94 to give Ethiopia their second gold medal in as many days. Coming down the home stretch it was Diriba and her training partner, Ruti Aga, battling for the top spot, with only one-one hundredth of a second separating the pair at the tape.

“I am very happy and glad. I want to continue in the tradition of great Ethiopian runners,” Diriba told the IAAF shortly after her victory.

As the world junior leader in the 5000m, Diriba, 18, came in as the fastest competitor in the field of 18. Letting Aga and Kenya’s Agnes Jebet Tirop control the pace for the early kilometers, Diriba finally made her move with less than 700 meters remaining, going to the front.

After extending her lead, Diriba was caught by Aga after the bell had sounded. For the final lap it would be an Ethiopian battle. The two, who train in Addis Ababa under coach Nigatu Warku, went stride for stride together and crossed the line at nearly the same instant. But it was Diriba edging the older Aga by one one-hundredth of a second in a photo finish, 15:32.94 to 15:32.95.

“I am happy that we have one and two for Ethiopia,” said Aga according to the IAAF.

Shortly behind the Ethiopian duo was Kenya’s Tirop in 15:36.74. A large gap stood between third and fourth, where American Cayla Hatton finished in a personal best of 15:50.32, just shy of the USA national high school record. Hatton, from Farmington, Conn., who has gained attention in the United States after running 33:17.28 for 10,000m, will be attending Stanford University in the fall.

Looking at the podium, Diriba’s gold and Aga’s silver brings Ethiopia’s medal total to four in the distance disciplines; Hiwot Gebrekidan earned a silver in the women’s 3000m and Yigrem Demelash won gold in the men’s 10,000m yesterday.

Diriba told reporters she would like to continue to improve and hopes to one day find her name amongst the nation’s very best athletes. “My dream is to be like Dibaba,” she said. “Of course I know Haile Gebrselassie.”