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Sports: After Jeilan’s surprise gold, Ethiopia expect more medals
Ibrahim Jeilan’s triumph in the 10 000 meters race has inspired Ethiopians to expect more medals from their athletes at the ongoing Athletics World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.
Jeilan’s gold pushed Ethiopian to the third position on the medal table after Kenya and the United States.
Ethiopians had expected the first gold medal to come from Meseret Defar also in the 10 000 meter event.
But Defar pulled out of the event because of an injury.
“To be frank, I didn’t expect Jeilan to win the Gold medal,” said Mekonnen Tamirat, an excited fan.
“I expected something from Kenisa Bekele but he dropped out as well.
” Jeilan did the unexpected by winning gold to Ethiopia.”
The 22-year Jeilan old clocked 27:13.81 to finish ahead of race favourite Mohammed Farah and Imane Merga of Britain.?
After a disappointing opening day, where the Ethiopians could only manage fourth (Bezunesh Bekele) in the women’s marathon and fifth (Meselech Melkamu) in the women’s 10,000m and suffered the indignation of seeing Kenya sweep all six medals, Jeilan restored some pride to Ethiopia’s campaign.
The focus before the race was on four-time world 10,000m champion Bekele, who made an emotional return to action after 20 months on the sidelines due to injury.
But the 29-year old could only survive the first 6000m of the race before dropping out with 10 laps of the contest left sighting a hip pain.?
Sunday, however, proved a much better day for Ethiopia who earlier in the morning celebrated Mohammed Aman’s qualification to the men’s 800m final on Monday.
The 17-year old clocked a national junior record time of 1:44.57 to win a competitive heat involving Sudanese world indoor champion Abubaker Kaki.?
However, it was also the last chapter in the incredible journey of Ethiopian 400m runner Fantu Megiso.
The 19-year old, who made history on Saturday by becoming the first Ethiopian sprinter to compete in the world championships when she lined up in the women’s 400m heats, failed to advance to the finals after finishing last.