Bekele shines as Jones suffers defeat


  • Other Sport
  • Sunday, 22 Feb 2004

LONDON: Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele broke the 5,000m indoor world record and Marion Jones won her first indoor long jump event at a Grand Prix meeting held at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena on Friday. 

Bekele lit up the night as he beat the previous time of 12:50.38 set by compatriot Haile Gebrselassie at the same event in 1999. The 21-year-old made his mark when he beat his mentor to gold in the world outdoor 10,000m in Paris last year. 

Triple Olympic champion Jones had a night of mixed fortunes as she was beaten into second place in the 60m by Belgian European Indoor champion Kim Gevaert, who won in 7.13 against the American’s season’s best time of 7.16. 

But Jones, who took last year off to give birth to a son fathered by world 100m record holder Tim Montgomery, won the long jump with a leap of 6.75m ahead of Spain’s Concepcion Montaner (6.35m) and Britain’s Kelly Sotherton (6.23m). 

Marion Jones (second from right) finishes behind Belgium's Kim Gevaet (for right) in the women's 60m final at the IAAF Indoor Athletics Grand Prix in Birmingham on Friday. -- Reuterspic

“With the sprints I’m pretty pleased. I worked on my starts and if it was 100m I’m pretty sure I’d have won the race,” said Jones, who returned to competition at the Millrose Games in New York this month. 

Jones, making her first European appearance since 2002, won a bronze medal in her last long jump competition at the Sydney Olympics to add to her three golds and a silver. She had never jumped indoors before Friday. 

“To start my first competition indoors with 6.75m, I’m pleased with that,” she told the BBC.  

“Now I can go back to the drawing board at home and get ready for the outdoor season. I was pretty pleased with my runway approach in the long jump.” 

Gebrselassie was hoping to sign off from his last indoor event in Britain by breaking his own world indoor record over two miles but had to settle for second place behind compatriot Markos Geneti, who took the lead on the back straight. 

Gebrselassie, arguably the finest distance runner of his and any era, hoped to eclipse the record of 8:04.69 he set at last year’s Birmingham meet but was some way off that pace as he finished in 8:08.65 behind Geneti in 8:08.39. 

“It was too fast at the beginning and in between it was a little bit slow,” said Gebrselassie. 

Asked if he would run indoors in Birmingham again, he said: “This is my last. Let me try another thing. Let me go to the marathon.” – Reuters  

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