(14-July) -- Ethiopia's Muktar Edris won the men's 5000m this evening on the penultimate day of the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, giving the East African nation a clean sweep of the gold medals in this discipline. Edris joins compatriot Buze Diriba, who won the women's 5000m on Wednesday, at the top of the podium.
"I dedicate my gold to the people of Ethiopia," Edris told the IAAF shortly after his victory. Running in the front through one and two kilometers, Edris seemed poised and in position to take the title.
Between the third and fourth kilometer (3000m was hit in 8:19.38), Edris regained the lead from Eritrea's Abrar Osman Adem. Fending off a number of competitors, the 18-year-old won in 13:38.95.
Edris said his idol is the great Haile Gebrselassie, someone he hopes to emulate as his career goes on.
"I am looking up to him. I spoke already sometimes to him," said Edris, talking with the IAAF. Gebrselassie was himself a IAAF World Junior Champion, winning the 1992 5000m and 10,000m titles in what were then championship record times. His mark in the 5000m that year (13:36.06) is just over two seconds faster than Edris's mark today.
A battle for second came down to the wire, as Adem and William Malel Sitonik of Kenya crossed the line at exactly the same time, 13:40.52. Adem was given the silver medal, while Sitonik got the bronze. If it wasn't for an injury to his leg, Sitonik may have finished higher on the podium, he said.
"Despite my injury on my leg I tried to give my all. I was expecting the gold medal but also I am happy right now I get the bronze medal," he told the IAAF.
Americans Kirubel Erassa and Kyle King finished within a second of one another in twelfth and thirteenth place, timing 14:19.28 and 14:19.97, respectively.
The semi-finals of the men's 800m saw a majority of the favorites advance. Nijel Amos, the world junior leader in the event, won his section for the second day in a row, as did Kenyans Timothy Kitum and Edwin Kiplagat Melly. Melly's time of 1:47.08 was the fastest on the day.
Not advancing was Qatar's Jamal Hairane, who had the fastest qualifying time in yesterday's preliminary heats. He finished fourth in his heat today. American Shaquille Walker also did not advance, running 1:51.43 for seventh in his section.
Tomorrow's (Sunday's) final should be very interesting, with Amos, who has a personal best of 1:43.11, and Kitum (1:43.94) squaring off for the first time of these championships. Throw in the consistent Melly and it should be a very fierce battle.
Tomorrow, the championships conclude with the finals of the women's 1500m, men's 800m and 3000m steeplechase.