By Norman Katende in Moscow
IAAF World Athletics Championships
1. Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH) 30:43.35
2. Gladys. Cherono (KEN) 30:45.17
3. Belaynesh Oljira (ETH) 30:46.98
16. Juliet Chekwel (UGA) 32:57.02
JULIET Chekwel refused to bow out even after she was over lapped in the women 10000m final at the World Championships and she was rewarded with the national record for her efforts.
She slashed almost a minute off her personal best while also setting a new national record over the distance. She clocked 32:57:02 to better her previous best of 33:50.75 which she ran in her first ever 10000m at Namboole last month.
Started the race on a high, keeping up with the leading pack until the Ethiopian duo of Belaynesh Oljira and Tirunesh Dibaba plus Japan’s Hitomi Niiya edged ahead after increasing the pace. The heavens opened at this point in the race and the shower helped bring the temperatures down.
Chekwel (16) runs in the early stages of the race in the company of eventual winner Tirunesh Dibaba. Photo by Norman Katende.
Dibaba would late in the race, eventually overtake Niiya who had led most of it, to win her third 10000m title in four events, having won the 2005 Helsinki and Osaka 2007 edition respectively in a time of 30:43:35.
By the time Chekwel crossed the finishing line, she had slashed five seconds off the national record that was set by Adero Nyakisi. Nyakisi ran a 33:02:1 at Namboole in July 2009.
Chekwel, who prior to these championships was a middle distance runner but qualified after performing well at the World Cross Country championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, was happy about her performance.
LONE RANGER: Chekwel makes her way to the finish line in a gruelling race. Photo by Norman Katende.
“I cannot believe it that I can do this just in my second race. Imagine I trained for less than a month. I am now praying that I get more competitions and will also put more emphasis on training to be able to even improve on my performance,” said Chekwel.
The athlete said that she was not worried about the big names in the race when she took to the starting line.
“I looked at them as an opportunity for me to run a better time and I just did that,” said Chekwel.