BAHRAIN’S Birhanu Balew set the world’s leading time en route to claiming a fantastic victory in the men’s 5,000 metres at the IAAF Diamond League Shanghai 2008 meeting, held late Saturday night.
The Diamond League is a series of top-level international competitions, held over the course of several months, for the world’s elite athletes.
Balew made a late kick in the hotly contested race and completed the gruelling distance in a total winning time of 13 minutes 09.64 seconds, which is the fastest in the world so far this year.
Balew managed to pip American Paul Chelimo at the finish by a mere two-hundredths of a second.
“Competition was good,” Balew said after the race. “Pace was easy. I came here to run a good time.”
Kenyans Stanley Mburu Waithaka and Cyrus Rutto followed in third and fourth, respectively, with Waithaka registering a time of 13:10.14 and Rutto setting a mark of 13:10.79.
Finishing fifth through seventh were Ethiopians Muktar Edris (13:10.98), Nibret Melak (13:10.99) and Abadi Hadis (13:11.04).
Bahrain’s other participant in the race, Albert Rop, rounded out the top eight in a season’s best time of 13:12.72.
A total of 18 runners started the race with only 12 finishing. The battle for the leading eight in the final classification was so tight that just three seconds separated Balew from Rop, while each of the top 10 either set a new personal or season’s best in the run.
Meanwhile, also in Shanghai, Bahraini Winfred Mutile Yavi registered a season’s best in finishing eighth in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase.
She completed her event in 9:44.02. She finished well behind winner Beatrice Chepkoech, who had a world leading mark of 9:07.27 in first place.