By Brian Homewood
DOHA (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris won a thrilling battle over the last 200 meters to retain his title in the 5,000 meters at the world championships on Monday.
The 25-year-old, roared on by a noisy contingent of flag-waving fans, outsprinted compatriot Selemon Barega to win in a season’s best 12 minutes 58.85 seconds as the Ethiopians were rewarded for a team performance with gold and silver.
In a physical final lap which saw plenty of jostling, Mo Ahmed took the bronze to win Canada’s first-ever world championships medal over the distance.
There was a wide open field in the first 5,000m final not to feature Britain’s Mo Farah, whose run of three successive titles was ended by Edris in London two years ago.
In contrast to the deserted arena which marred Sunday’s events, the race took place in a raucous atmosphere, boosted by the Ethiopian contingent, and with the stadium more than half full.
Apart from the Ethiopians and Kenyans, the 5,000m also featured the three Ingebrigtsen brothers from Norway — Henrik, Filip and Jakob.
With nobody prepared to make a break, the race was still up for grabs with two laps to go.
Ahmed attempted to push the pace then Jakob Ingebrigtsen tried to break clear at the bell as the runners jostled for position.
But the 19-year-old Norwegian ran out of gas and was overhauled with 300 meters to go and finished fifth.
Barega went ahead but Edris came bursting through to make a mockery of those who had questioned his form, while Telahun Haile Bekele, previously the fastest this year, was fourth.
(Writing by Brian Homewood; editing by Pritha Sarkar and Ken Ferris)