Just two days after Sifan Hassan setting a new world 10,000m record of 29:06.82 in Hengelo, Ethiopia’s 2019 world 10,000m silver medallist, Letesenbet Gidey – competing on the same track in the Dutch city – improved the mark by five seconds with 29:01.03* to win the Ethiopian Trials on Tuesday, June 8.
With few getting racing opportunities abroad, the Ethiopian Olympic Trials offered not only a chance for Ethiopian athletes to make their case for being selected to represent their country but also run fast times. As the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, lies at about 2400m, domestic races are competitive but much slower than they would be run at sea level.
The competition programme featured all distances from 800m to 10,000m, including the steeplechase. The main event, however, was the last: the women’s 10,000m.
Gidey, who last year set a world 5000m record of 14:06.62, went to the lead in the early stages, passing through 2000m in 5:54 and 3000m in 8:50. She reached the half-way point at about 14:42, which put her slightly behind the world record pace that was being indicated by the blue Wavelight technology, but she looked extremely comfortable and had just Ababel Yeshaneh for company.
Whether or not her chance to do so comes before or after her faceoff with Hassan at the Olympics remains to be seen. The 23-year-old becomes the first woman to hold both the 5000m and 10,000m world records since Ingrid Kristiansen did so from 1986-1993.