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The 25-lap women’s 10,000m at the 2022 World Championships was determined in a dramatic, sprint finish.
World record holder Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia leaned at the line to take the win at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, clocking 30:09.94, finishing just eight-hundredths ahead of Kenya’s Hellen Obiri and thirteen-hundredths ahead of Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi, also of Kenya. (Video highlight embedded above.)
Despite being the world record holder, this is Gidey’s first major world title. She claimed 10,000m silver at the 2019 World Championship and bronze at last summer’s Tokyo World Championships. Gidey infamously was expelled from school as a 13-year-old for refusing to run in PE classes, and was only able to return to class when she agreed to participate.
Ahead of the 2022 World Championships, Obiri told Citius Mag she could drop a 60-second final lap in the women’s 10,000m. And she nearly did, clocking 61 seconds over the final 400 meters to claim her fourth world championship medal (and first in this event).
Even more remarkable? Gidey, who is not known for her kick, managed a 60-second final lap to eke out the win.
The Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan, the defending 10,000 world champion, finished fourth.
Despite her tremendous three-medal performance at the Tokyo Olympics — or perhaps because of it — Hassan entered this year’s World Championships as a bit of a mystery. The 29-year-old had only entered one race so far this season, a 5000m in early July, and her manager said she has been recovering from both the physical and mental toll of last year’s Olympic performance. Hassan is still expected to be a threat in the 5000m later this week in Eugene.
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In her world championship debut, 21-year-old Ririka Hironaka of Japan pushed out to an early lead by the second lap, a lead that she held until about the halfway point of the race.
The majority of the field stayed together until the final five laps of the race when Gidey and countrywoman Ejgayehu Taye pushed to the front.
Karissa Schweizer was the top American finisher in ninth. The 26-year-old from Urbandale, Iowa, crossed the line in a personal best of 30:18.05. Alicia Monson (Amery, Wisconsin) was 13th, while Natosha Rogers (Littleton, Colorado) also achieved a personal best with a 15th place finish in 31:10.57.
All told, 11 women in the 19-athlete field achieved a personal best during the 10,000m race. Stella Chesang of Uganda, Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui of Kazhakstan and Rahel Daniel of Eritrea also set national records. Full results are here.
NBC Sports research contributed to this report.
Follow Alex Azzi on Twitter @AlexAzziNBC
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