TDN with wire dispatches
Ethiopians may be hoping for a sweep in the women's 5,000m final today, but two of their former countrywoman who are now competing for Turkey are hoping to cause a major upset. Ethiopian-born Elvan Abeylegesse and Alemitu Bekele Degfa will take part in today's race, where defending champion Meseret Defar, 10,000m winner Tirunesh Dibaba and African champion Meselech Melkamu are bidding for an Ethiopian sweep of the medals.
Abeylegesse managed to pose a real problem to Dibaba, but could not respond the Ethiopian's late sprint and had to settle for a silver medal last Friday. "It was really very tough," said the world 10,000m champion Dibaba, who was pushed hard by Elvan. Dibaba's performance on Friday, 29:54.66, was recorded as the second-fastest time ever, while the runner-up, Elvan, broke the European record. Both Abeylegesse and Bekele were promising in their series: Alemitu Bekele Degfa was third in 15.10.92 in heat one, while Elvan Abeylegesse was fifth in 14.58.79 in heat two. Defar was the best performer with 14.56.32. Defar, world champion in 5,000m, lost her African title to Melkamu in May, but ran 14:12.88 in Stockholm last month."The race in Stockholm was one in which I demonstrated my form and it gave me a wonderful vision for Beijing," Defar said."We've done good preparation and we came to win," Melkamu told Reuters.The trio were part of Ethiopia's sweep of the first four places at the 2005 world championships in Helsinki, where Dibaba, her elder sister Ejegayehu and Defar earned medals, and Melkamu fell just short. Today's 10,000m final is at 3:40 p.m. Turkish time.