With a long and sustained run from the bell, Alemaz Samuel Teshale became the third successive Ethiopian winner of the women’s 1500m at the IAAF World U20 Championships, in Tampere 2018 on Sunday.
On a blisteringly hot afternoon for the final session of the championships, Alemaz Samuel covered the last lap of a tactical encounter in 61.04 to win the title in 4:09.67, finishing more than a second ahead of Kenya’s Miriam Cherop in 4:10.73.
Samuel was by far the fastest on paper with a lifetime best of 4:01.78 from the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha in May, but she was surprisingly beaten at the Ethiopian U20 Championships by Dinke Firdisa.
There were high hopes of a third successive Ethiopian 1-2 but Firdisa, the second fastest on paper with 4:09.68, fell out of contention on the last lap and faded to sixth in 4:17.42.
But the plaudits in Tampere went to Samuel Teshale who now has her sights set on donning the Ethiopian vest in senior competition next year.
“It was a slow race – it was very easy for me. I was expecting a hard race,” said Samuel, who turned 19 the week before the championships. “I felt brave and I’m very proud of Ethiopia winning today. Next my aim is to further improve to run at senior level at the IAAF World Championships in Doha next year.”
After taking silver in her final season in the U20 ranks, Cherop now harbours aspirations of making the Kenyan senior team for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark next March.
Delia Sclabas replicated her finishing position from the 800m by taking bronze in 4:11.98. The Swiss teenager will now target next month’s European Championships in Berlin full of confidence after earning her second medal of the championships.
Sclabas tore the tightly bunched field asunder with a hard burst with two laps remaining. Sclabas was mostly responsible for a lap of 63.37 from 800m through to 1200m and while she couldn’t match Samuel in the last 300 metres, Sclabas was safe in third place, nearly three seconds ahead of fourth-place finisher Mariana Machado from Portugal in 4:14.93.
“I was seeded fifth coming into the final but I knew I could get a medal,” said Sclabas, who won the European U20 title over 3000m last year – a title which she is eligible to defend next year.
“I had to push hard in the race and show my best – this has been a great championships for me which is a big motivation to hopefully improve for next year.”
(Reports by Steven Mills for the IAAF)