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2008 Olympic Games Beijing - Women's 10000 m



Host City: Beijing, China Format: Final only.
Date Started: August 15, 2008  
Date Finished: August 15, 2008  
(Competitors: 31; Countries: 17)  
    Venue(s): Beijing National Stadium, Beijing
Overview by IAAF   2008_olympic_stadium.jpg 
The question of whether this would be a slow tactical race was quickly answered when World Half Marathon Champion Kiplagat took the lead in the first lap, and led the field through halfway in 15:09.98 with kilometre splits ranging from 2:59.69 to 3:03.68. Kiplagat continued past 6000m (18:12.85), but yielded to Abeylegesse just before 7000m was reached. The Ethiopian-born Turk changed the tenor of the race with her next two kilometres of 2:54.94 and 2:56.62. At this point only World Champion Dibaba was in contact, with Masai slipping back towards Flanagan. Dibaba went into overdrive just after the bell and was timed by transponder in a scorching 14.0 for the 100m section down the last backstraight. She drew relentlessly away from the brave Abeylegesse, clocking 60.2 for her last lap. Her final 3000m took just 8:40.0 for a finishing time which was the second-fastest in history. Behind the top two, Flanagan overcame Masai, and a bout of pre-race food poisoning, to take the bronze medal. The top three set continental records and Masai a world junior record.
Summary by      
This was the first final for women in athletics at Beijing and went off at 2245 on the first night of competition. The heavy favorite was Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba, who had never lost a 10K race, and had won the World Championships in 2005 and 2007. The race was a final only and was held in high heat and humidity, especially considering the start time. The early lead was taken by Lornah Kiplagat, a Kenyan-born Dutchwoman. She powered thru 5K in 15:09.98, shredding the field as only 10 remained in the lead pack at that point. Kiplagat led thru almost 7K, when she fell back, the lead taken by Turkey's Elvan Abeylegesse, with Dibaba moving into second. With a kilometer remaining, they had 10 seconds on the chasers. Abeylegesse led to the bell, when Dibaba surged ahead and had five metres on the Turk by the final curve, when she opened up even more, winning by 15 metres. Her time of 29:54.66 made her only the second woman to run under 30 minutes, and she also pulled Abeylegesse under the barrier as well (29:56.34). American Shalane Flanagan moved into third place with 600 metres remaining. But because the field was so strung out, she was not certain of her place. She won the bronze medal but did not realize that until being told after the race. Dibaba returned a week later to win the 5K, becoming the first woman to win the distance double at the Olympics.


Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows:

World record  Wang Junxia (CHN) 29:31.78 Beijing, China 8 September 1993
Olympic record  Derartu Tulu (ETH) 30:17.49 Sydney, Australia 30 September 2000

The following new Olympic record was set during this competition.

Date Event Name Nationality Time OR WR
15 August Final Tirunesh Dibaba Ethiopia 29:54.66 OR  

Both Tirunesh Dibaba and Elvan Abeylegesse completed the race in a time under the old Olympic record, recording the second and third fastest ever women's 10,000 metre times, making Dibaba the new Olympic record holder.


The women's 10,000 metres at the 2008 Summer Olympics took place on 15 August at the Beijing National Stadium. The race was won by Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia, who set a new Olympic record time of 29:54.66.

The qualifying standards were 31:45.00 (A standard) and 32:20.00 (B standard).

The early part of the race was dominated by Lornah Kiplagat. But in the second half of the race, the contenders moved to the front, dominated by Elvan Abeylegesse, with the string of runners lined up behind her. Abeylegesse separated herself from the rest of the field, except for Tirunesh Dibaba, who marked her every step. Midway through the last lap, Dibaba pounced with a kick Abeylegesse couldn't answer. Almost a half a minute back, Shalane Flanagan was the best of the rest for bronze, with Linet Chepkwemoi Masai setting the World junior record a few steps behind her.

At the time Dibaba and Abeylegesse ran the second and third fastest of all time (the best having occurred also in Beijing, Junxia Wang's world record in 1993). A year after this race, Meselech Melkamu edged past these two for the second best of all time.

Women's 10,000m FINAL

Perhaps the gold medallist tonight was no great surprise, yet few would have predicted the race would throw up the second and third fastest times in history, an Olympic record, African, European and North America records and a World Junior record to boot in a truly staggering demonstration of distance running.

Of course, it was Tirunesh Dibaba who crossed the line first. The Ethiopian distance running icon finally adding the Olympic crown to her three World titles over the distance as once again she proved unbeatable on the track.

Yet some credit must be given to Holland's Lornah Kiplagat, who led for the first 6000m, and later Elvan Abeylegesse, the silver medallist, who pushed Dibaba to the second fastest 10,000m time in history of 29:54.66.

For her efforts Abeylegesse recorded 29:56.34 with Shalane Flanagan of the USA providing a remarkable story to recover just two days after food poisoning and wipe 12 seconds from her national record with 30:22.22.

Oh, and Linet Masai set a World junior record of 30:26.50 for fourth. And, remember, all this in the so called polluted city of Beijing in which distance runners were expected to suffer.

Dibaba, who secured Ethiopia's third gold medal in the six editions of this event at the Olympics, was elated to win and has set her sights on the 15-year-old World record time of 29:31.86 of China's Wang Junxia.

"I was expecting something from the race and I got it," said Dibaba. "It was the right place to break the world record (in China). Next year I'm sure I'll do it."

The early pace was taken up for Kiplagat, the Kenyan-born Dutch athlete who went through 2km in 6:00.15 - a point in which almost half the 31-strong field was already detached from the main group.

Kiplagat continued to lead the main group with Ethiopia's Mestawet Tufa and Abeylegesse in closer order. Dibaba, meanwhile, that's Tirunesh and not her older sister, Ejegayehu, preferred to stay out of trouble in about tenth for the first ten laps of the race.

Kiplagat, the 2007 World Cross Country champion hit the 5km mark in 15:09.98, ahead of Tufa, Abeylegesse and the Dibaba sisters with the lead group of 15 in Indian file, clearly stretched by the fierce first half pace.

Very quickly six dropped out of the back of the pack, although Kenyan duo Masai and Lucy Wangui as well as Flanagan were still in contention.

Eight laps out Abeylegesse decisively hit the front and injected further pace into the race with a sub 70-second lap.

Tufa and Ejegayehu Dibaba fell off the back and quickly out of the medal hunt as the race really started to take shape.

With a quarter distance remaining only Dibaba could stick with the dimunitive Turk's killer pace.

Masai ansd Wangui appeared to be in a private battle for bronze with Flanagan further back.

The closing laps followed a familar theme. Abeylegesse, the World silver medallist, head down, shoulders rolling desperate to break free. Dibaba, with a ramrod straight back and high knee lift stuck to her like a cat waiting to pounce.

Behind them, though, much drama. Flanagan, who set a US record of 30:34.49 in Stanford in April, was closing in on the two Kenyans.

First, she caught and passed the fading Wangui, the Commonwealth champion.

Next up the 27-year-old US athlete swept past Masai to take third place.

Up front, at the bell Dibaba made her winning move. She hit the front around the crown of the opening bend although Abeylegesse responded and down the back straight only a stride separarted the pair.

But, finally, just over 200m out the Turk finally cracked. Dibaba extended her advantage to run away to record an Olympic record, African record and the second fastest time in history.

But credit the Ethiopian-born Abeylegesse for sticking to the task to record the third fastest time ever - the pair becoming only the second and third athletes in history to dip below 30:00.

Flanagan defied her debilitating sickness caused by food poisoning for third in a North American record of 30:22.22. In fourth, Masai recorded a world junior and Kenyan record of 30:26.50.

In fifth, the fast finishing Maria Konovalova of Russia set a national record of 30:35.84 one place ahead of her compatriot, Inga Abitova, the European champion (30:37.33).

Wangui wound up seventh in a PB of 30:39.96 with the early leader, Kiplagat, in eighth (30:40.27). In a further measure of the quality of the race, if any more was needed, the bronze medallist from last year's World Championships, Kara Goucher of the USA, set a personal best of 30:55.16 but could only finish tenth!

For the record Dibaba's sibling, Ejegayehu, finished a distant 14th in 31:22.18 and Tufa, the third Ethiopian and third fastest in the world this year ahead of tonight's race, failed to finish.

One more final stat. The second 5000m was covered in a little under 14:45.

Steve Landells for the IAAF

10000 m Women     Final 15 August      
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 29.54.66     Tirunesh Dibaba Ethiopia ETH 1 Oct 85 AR
2 29.56.34     Elvan Abeylegesse Turkey TUR 11 Sep 82 AR
3 30.22.22     Shalane Flanagan United States USA 8 Jul 81 AR
4 30.26.50     Linet Masai Kenya KEN 5 Dec 89 WJR
5 30.35.84     Mariya Konovalova Russia RUS 14 Aug 74  
6 30.37.33     Inga Abitova Russia RUS 6 Mar 82  
7 30.39.96     Lucy Kabuu Kenya KEN 24 Mar 84  
8 30.40.27     Lornah Kiplagat Netherlands NED 1 May 74  
9 30.51.00     Kim Smith New Zealand NZL 19 Nov 81  
10 30.55.16     Kara Goucher United States USA 9 Jul 78  
11 31.01.14     Kayoko Fukushi Japan JPN 25 Mar 82  
12 31.12.30     Jo Pavey Great Britain GBR 20 Sep 73  
13 31.14.21     Sabrina Mockenhaupt Germany GER 6 Dec 80  
14 31.22.18     Ejegayehu Dibaba Ethiopia ETH 21 Mar 82  
15 31.29.69     Hilda Kibet Netherlands NED 27 Mar 81  
16 31.31.12     Zhang Yingying China CHN 4 Jan 90  
17 31.31.13     Yoko Shibui Japan JPN 14 Mar 79  
18 31.39.87     Peninah Arusei Kenya KEN 23 Feb 79  
19 31.45.57     Tatyana Aryasova Russia RUS 2 Apr 79  
20 32.00.37     Yukiko Akaba Japan JPN 18 Oct 79  
21 32.20.27     Bai Xue China CHN 13 Dec 88  
22 32.24.83     Anikó Kálovics Hungary HUN 13 May 77  
23 32.26.69     Kate Reed Great Britain GBR 28 Sep 82  
24 32.33.45     Nathalie De Vos Belgium BEL 9 Dec 82  
25 32.34.64     Preeja Sreedharan India IND 13 Mar 82  
26 32.38.28     Amy Begley United States USA 11 Jan 78  
27 32.58.04     Dulce María Rodríguez Mexico MEX 14 Aug 72  
28 33.03.14     Dong Xiaoqin China CHN 2 Jan 83  
29 33.17.88     Isabel Checa Spain ESP 27 Dec 82  
  DNF     Asmae Leghzaoui Morocco MAR 30 Aug 76  
  DNF     Mestawat Tufa Ethiopia ETH 5 Oct 86  




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