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Letesenbet Gidey Holds On To Win Women’s 10,000 In Wild Finish At World Athletics Championships

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Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia wins the women's 10,000-meter run final at the World Athletics Championships on Saturday, July 16, 2022, in Eugene. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

World record-holder Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia won the women’s 10,000 meters in a wild finish Saturday in the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field.

Four women came off the final turn with a chance to win. Gidey was the first to the finish line, but just barely.

Gidey’s winning time was 30 minutes, 9.94 seconds. Kenyan Hellen Obiri was second in 30:10.02 and fellow Kenyan Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi third in 30:10.07.

Heading around the turn and onto the straight, it looked for all the world like the race was Sifan Hassan’s for the taking.

Hassan, a double gold medalist at the Tokyo Olympics, was perfectly positioned, just wide enough for a straight, unobstructed shot at the finish line.

But Hassan, who represents the Netherlands, couldn’t sustain her kick. She crossed a close fourth in 30:10.56.

It was a competitive, wicked-fast race. Karissa Schweizer, U.S. champion from the Portland-based, Nike-sponsored Bowerman Track Club, rode in their jet stream to a ninth-place time of 30:18.05, a personal record by nearly 30 seconds.

Hellen Obiri of Kenya (from left), Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia, and Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi of Kenya stand on the podium after the 10,000 meters women's final at the World Athletics Championships on Saturday, July 16, 2022, in Eugene. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Hellen Obiri of Kenya (from left), Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia, and Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi of Kenya stand on the podium after the 10,000 meters women’s final at the World Athletics Championships on Saturday, July 16, 2022, in Eugene. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The close finish had a large Hayward crowd roaring as the runners fought for the finish line.

“I am so happy about this performance,” Gidey said. “I was thinking about winning this gold since 2019, but Hassan was always there.”

And Hassan, once a member of the Portland-based Nike Oregon Project, is formidable.

Not only did she win gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 last summer in Tokyo, she added a bronze in the 1,500 in what was a freakishly difficult triple, taxing speed, strength and endurance.

But this isn’t that version of Hassan. Exhausted by a sustained, long-term workload that also included gold medals in the 1,500 and 10,000 in the 2019 world championships and the mental strain of the 2020 COVID year, Hassan went on a prolonged vacation after the Olympics.

She said Saturday she still isn’t completely fit.

“I trained so hard for almost two years, and after three races in Tokyo, I was crushed,” Hassan said. “Mentally crushed. Like, I didn’t even care about running. So, I took a break for seven, eight months.”

Sifan Hassan

Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands leaves the track after competing during the women’s 10,000-meter final at the World Athletics Championships on Saturday, July 16, 2022, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

She worked off some of the rust last week by winning the 5,000 meters in the Stumptown Twilight at Portland’s Jesuit High School.

Though she won that race, her winning time of 15:31.41 was pedestrian, at least for her.

On the final straight on Saturday, she didn’t have her killer kick. But she helped make the finish something exciting.

Obiri, 32, almost won the race. It was a strong showing from a runner who declared at the end of the last season she was giving up the track to be a road racer. She was happy with it.

Coming in, she said she was thinking, “if I can get something, I will be OK. I felt no pressure about this race.”

She had some oomph left for the final straight.

“My legs were tired,” she said. “But I said, ‘No. Let me try to get something.’”

Women compete during the women's 10,000-meter final at the World Athletics Championships on Saturday, July 16, 2022, in Eugene. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Women including Karissa Schweizer (second from left) compete during the women’s 10,000-meter final at the World Athletics Championships on Saturday, July 16, 2022, in Eugene. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Schweizer ran a gritty race, staying with the front pack most of the way. She didn’t lose contact until the final two laps.

And, really, what isn’t to like about a monumental personal record on the championship stage?

“I really stuck my nose in it,” Schweizer said. “I knew that the pace was above my PR range. I wanted to go out there and try to compete.”

Mission accomplished.

“If the best shape of my life means ninth,” Schweizer said, “than that is what it is today.”

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Senegalese football fans hopeful for World Cup triumph after seeing trophy in Dakar

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Fooball fans in Senegal have taken a glimpse at the World Cup trophy displayed at the Grand Theatre in Dakar on Wednesday as part of a tour organized by FIFA.

After winning the African Cup of Nations in February, Senegalese fans believe that the ‘Lions of Teranga’ have every chance of winning the 22nd edition of the World Cup in Qatar

“I saw the World Cup on TV and I always dreamed of seeing it with my own eyes. The trophy is very nice, look how beautiful it is. It is not for nothing that it costs almost 18 million euros. This cup must return to Senegal. Senegal must be world champions.” says Boy Marone, a Senegalese fan.

Senegal have appeared in the finals of the FIFA World Cup on two occasions, in 2002 where they reached the quarter finals, and in 2018. They were the first team in World Cup history to be eliminated using the fair play rule after being tied with Japan on the first six tiebreakers. As the current champions of Africa, there are huge expectations.

“Our wish is to go to Qatar and win. For the first time, an African country can win the World Cup and we hope that this time will be the one. In December, we’ll win the trophy, we can win it.” Alioune Ngom, another  fan says.

After Ghana and Senegal, the trophy displays in Yaounde this Thursday and Friday and will then fly to North Africa to visit the last two African countries that qualified for the World Cup: Morocco and Tunisia.

In total, the 2022 edition of the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour will stop in 51 countries and territories, The spellbinding journey will finish in Doha, Qatar just a few days before the greatest show on Earth gets under way on 20 November 2022.

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Soufiane El Bakkali Wins 3,000M Title at Diamond Leauge Final

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Moroccan athlete Soufiane El Bakkali won on Thursday the men’s 3,000 meters steeplechase at the Diamond League final in Zurich, Switzerland.

El Bakkal claimed the title with a dominant performance, as he recorded a time of eight minutes, seven seconds, and 67 milliseconds.

The Moroccan runner defeated Ethiopia’s runner-up Getnet Wale, who came second, and Kenya’s Abraham Kibiwot who finished third.

El Bakkali’s win comes after the Moroccan athlete failed to clinch the Diamond League title for five years.

In July, El Bakkali was crowned world champion in the 3,000 meters steeplechase at the World Athletics Championship, which took place in Eugene, the United States.

In May, the 25-year-old athlete won a gold medal in the first phase of the 2022 Doha Wanda Diamond league.

Last year, the Moroccan runner made historyafter he won Morocco’s first gold medal in the 3,000 meters steeplechase race at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The Moroccan gold-winner finished the race in eight minutes, 25 seconds, and 13 milliseconds, surpassing Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma and Kenya’s Conseslus Kipruto.

El Bakkali’s consecutive wins and outsdandig performance restored Morocco’s hope for gold, following a series of disappointing performances.

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Ghana has not done enough to celebrate me – Asamoah Gyan laments

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Former captain of the Black Stars, Asamoah Gyan is bruised by what he describes as the hypocritical attitude of Ghanaians who he says have done little to celebrate his achievements in football.

The basis of his opinion is the fact that social media platforms are always inundated with insults of his personality alongside the claim that his countrymen do not trumpet his records until foreigners attempt to ‘steal’ the spot for an international footballer.

The 36-year-old indicated in his interview with Dentaa that his weighty accomplishments as a footballer should be on the lips of Ghanaians while emphasizing he is an icon.

Without hesitation, he responded “Nope, I don’t think so” to whether or not he thinks Ghana has celebrated him enough years after playing for national teams.

“There are a lot of people who come on social media to disrespect me. They say a lot of things but they know the truth. One thing about Ghanaians is they know the right thing, instead of them putting it out there, they will not do it. But when foreigners praise theirs, that is where they [Ghanaians] bring their star to compare,” Gyan said.

Citing an example to buttress his point, Gyan mentioned that he was the first player to have scored in nine consecutive tournaments but that enviable record was never blazoned by Ghanaians until Cristiano Ronaldo did same in June 2021. Gyan’s bane was why it had to take an attempt by foreigners to crown Cristiano Ronaldo as a record-holder in that regard before Ghanaians acknowledged him.

“When Ronaldo scored, they [foreigners] put him there that he was the one who has set that record and then Ghanaians started attacking. They know the truth. Why didn’t they say it for people to know? When people start praising their icons, that is when they [Ghanaians] come out and say ‘we also have Asamoah Gyan’.

“In my own country, you see people disrespecting me, creating a lot of stories about me which I feel like it’s not it. So, when I see people defending me on social media, I just say ‘look at these hypocrites’” Gyan concluded.

Asamoah Gyan is the all-time leading goal scorer of the Ghana national team, with 51 goals. He is also the top African goal scorer in the history of the World Cup, with 6 goals.

Meanwhile, Asamoah Gyan has said he is training in preparation for a possible World Cup 2022 appearance. The announcement has courted conversation, dividing opinions. Why some posit that he is better than all the strikers Ghana has and hence, should be handed a call-up, others say he has become rusty, hence, unfit to wear the national jersey.

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