Ayana cracks 10,000m world mark

Ethiopian Almaz Ayana crossing the finish line to set a new world record in the 10,000m, with silver medallist Vivian Cheruiyot nowhere in sight.
Ethiopian Almaz Ayana crossing the finish line to set a new world record in the 10,000m, with silver medallist Vivian Cheruiyot nowhere in sight.PHOTO: REUTERS

RIO DE JANEIRO • Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana produced one of the greatest runs in Olympic history yesterday to win the women's 10,000m final in 29min 17.45sec, a world record.

Last year's world champion Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya took silver in 29:32.53, just off the previous world mark of 29:31.78 set by Wang Junxia of China in 1993.

Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia, winner of the last two Olympic titles, overtook early leader Alice Aprot of Kenya to get the bronze in 29:42.56, a lifetime best that was 14 seconds faster than the previous Olympic record she set in 2008.

The race was destined to make history from the beginning, as the competitors established a fast pace.

Aprot, 22, took an early lead with a 3:01 after the first 1,000m. The world junior bronze medallist then took the field through a blazing-fast 5,000m split of 14:46.

But, as if the pace was not fast enough, Ayana, 24, shot to the front and established an even faster pace just after the 5,000 mark.

Ayana, known for her relentless pace and agility, powered through the last 8,000m in 23:25, a whopping 34sec faster than the world- record pace set by Wang in 1993.

"I'm not sure that I can understand that. When I saw the world record set in 1993, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. And Ayana has absolutely blitzed that time," said the British marathon world-record holder Paula Radcliffe.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 13, 2016, with the headline 'Ayana cracks 10,000m world mark'. Print Edition | Subscribe