Friday, July 17, 2009

Bekele defeats Lagat over 3000 meters in Paris; Ginnie Powell third in 100m hurdles...

PARIS, France--The anticipated Kenenisa Bekele/Bernard Lagat duel over 3000 meters turned into no contest as Ethiopia's two-time Olympic 10000 meter champion defeated the former Washington State All-American and reigning double world champion at Friday's Meeting Areva at the Stade de France.

The Ethiopian superstar kept himself in the running for at least a share of the $1 million jackpot awarded to any athlete who goes undefeated in the Golden League series of meets.

Competing under rainy skies and cool temperatures in the French capital, Bekele judged his head to head confrontation over 3000m with Bernard Lagat to perfection. The fourth lap of 59.7 did the damage and destroyed the hopes of his American rival, allowing the Ethiopian to then gradually widen his advantage on the reigning World 1500m and 5000m champion. With these tactics the Ethiopian, who holds the 5000m and 10,000m Olympic crowns and possesses a mean sprint of his own, never allowed Lagat to position himself for any attack.

With a mist of rain already in the stadium air Bekele hit the bell (6:29) with holding a good 20 meters or more advantage on his principal opponent and brought the race home in 7:28.64. Lagat had given the challenge everything he had, finishing in a outdoor personal best of 7:33.15. France’s Mourad Amdouni was third in a time of 7:37.50, while Chris Solinsky, a new member of the Oregon Track Club, ran 7:37.12 for fourth.

Courtesy of media partner, here's a video interview with Lagat after the race:

In Friday's meet, all four contenders for the $1 million Golden League jackpot--Bekele, Kerron Stewart, Sanya Richards, and Yelena Isinbayeva--emerged victorious.

In the women's 100 meter hurdles, three-time World Championships team member Ginnie Powell from Seattle's Rainier Beach High School, finished third in a time of 12.81, behind reigning Olympic champion Dawn Harper (12.68), and reigning world champ Michelle Perry (12.75).

Complete results from the Meeting Areva can be accessed here

: The IAAF contributed to this report.

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