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Updated: June 1, 2013 21:03 IST

Bekele runs fastest 10,000m of the year

AP
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Distance runner Kenenisa Bekele, from Ethiopa, crosses the finish line to win the 10,000-meter race during the Prefontaine Classic track and field meet in Eugene, Oregon on Friday. Bekele won with a time of 27:12.08.
AP Distance runner Kenenisa Bekele, from Ethiopa, crosses the finish line to win the 10,000-meter race during the Prefontaine Classic track and field meet in Eugene, Oregon on Friday. Bekele won with a time of 27:12.08.

Mo Farah switches events at the Pre Classic

World record-holder Kenenisa Bekele took the lead heading into the final lap and sprinted to the finish to win the 10,000 meters at the Prefontaine Classic on Friday.

Bekele finished in 27 minutes, 12.08 seconds, ahead of fellow Ethiopians Imane Merga and Abera Kuma.

London Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah withdrew from the race a day earlier because of a stomach bug, instead choosing to run Saturday in the 5,000 in the elite Diamond League meet at Hayward Field.

Bekele set the meet record in the 10,000 at the Prefontaine back in 2008, when he ran it in 26-25.97. He went on to win gold medals in the 10,000 and 5,000 in the Beijing Olympics that year.

Among other events on Friday, world record-holder Betty Heidler of Germany won the hammer and two-time Olympic gold medalist Valerie Adams of New Zealand won the shot put. Russian Aleksander Menkov won the men’s long jump.

Farah will run in the 5,000 against fellow Olympian Galen Rupp. While Farah is British and Rupp is American, the two are training partners and close friends.

Farah picked up the virus at the Oxy High Performance meet in Los Angeles two weeks ago. The virus forced him to miss a few days of training.

“Having an extra day of rest and running half the distance is probably in his best interest,” Rupp said.

Farah thrilled the home-country crowds at the London Olympics by winning gold in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters. A British newspaper ran a banner headline exclaiming “Golden Mo-Ment!”

Rupp finished second to Farah in the Olympic 10,000 for the silver medal. The two athletes, who are coached by Alberto Salazar as part of the Nike Oregon Project, have been training together recently in Park City, Utah.

“We both understand that we’re both pretty fierce competitors and both want to win,” Rupp said on Friday. “Anything that happens on the track we don’t take personally. In fact, we see it as an advantage to have each other in a race. We tend to key off each other.”

Farah won the 5,000 at the Pre Classic last year in 12 minutes, 56.98 seconds, the fastest time ever run in the United States. And for Rupp, the Prefontaine meet is special because it’s at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, his home track in college.

Other athletes participating in the Pre include Olympians Nick Symmonds in the 800 meters, Allyson Felix in the 100 and LaShawn Merritt in the 400. Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross was a late entrant in the women’s 400 after a foot injury held her out of the adidas Grand Prix in New York.

Kenyan David Rushida, world record holder in the 800, had to withdraw from the Pre because of a right knee injury. Rushida had an MRI on Thursday in Eugene, revealing bruising of the bone and ligaments.

This year’s 10,000 was originally supposed to be the IAAF World Championship Trials for Ethiopia, but meet organizers said the Ethiopian Athletic Federation decided to go in a different direction.

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