Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma breaks new ground with 5000m victory over seasoned Kenyan runners

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Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma breaks new ground with 5000m victory over seasoned Kenyan runners

Festus Chuma 17:18 - 20.04.2024

The steeplechase world record holder triumphed in 5000m at Diamond League beating seasoned long-distance runners.

Reigning 3000m steeplechase world record holder Lamecha Girma took the track by storm on Saturday 20 April at the Diamond League opener in Xiamen, China.

Girma triumphed in the men's 5000m race a distance not typically associated with his steeplechase prowess. 

Clocking a remarkable time of 12:58.95, he edged out a field dominated by specialist long-distance runners, particularly from Kenya.

The race, absent of Joshua Cheptegei, the world record holder in the event, was left wide open.

Nicholas Kipkorir finished a close second with a time of 12:59.58 and was closely followed by Birahim Balwew who secured third place by clocking in at 13:00.47. 

Samuel Masai, another Kenyan, was hot on their heels, finishing just milliseconds later at 13:00.69 demonstrating the tight competition among the top contenders.

Girma’s transition from his signature event, where he holds the world record with a time of 7:52.11 in the steeplechase to the flat 5000m race highlights his versatile athletic ability and strategic racing acumen.

The victory could potentially broaden his horizons towards more non-steeplechase events in future competitions especially with the Paris Olympics on the horizon.

Further details of the event included impressive performances in other disciplines.

U.S. high jumper Shelby McEwen claimed his first ever Diamond League victory, edging out renowned high jumper Mutaz Barshim by countback with a jump of 2.27m. 

In the women's shot put, Gong Lijiao delighted the home crowd with a first-place finish at 19.72m, narrowly defeating competitors Chase Jackson and Maddison Lee Wesche, who set a personal best with her final throw.

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