World Indoor Championship 3,000m silver medallist, Paul Kipsiele Koech, was outsprinted by compatriot Augustine Choge over the distance in Stockholm’s GE Galan meeting.
With both athletes eyeing to make it in the six-man Kenyan team to the World Indoor Championship set for Doha in March, Choge and Kipsiele put up a thrilling battle in the final lap.
With a quality field to look out for – having the top-six all dipping under 7:35 and the top-four moving into the top-10 of all-time – the race would have fitted the bill of being the final in Doha.
The start was fast (57.5 first 400m, 2:29 first kilometre) but at the end of the second kilometre the pacesetter Vincent Rono started to slow down. Then Kipsiele took over and started winding it up gradually but he never managed to get free of all the other runners.
With half a lap to go Choge sprinted past and at the very end World Indoor champion Tariku Bekele came from behind to almost surprise Choge right at the line.
Choge however held out to claim the podium in 7:31.75. Bekele was second after 7:31.78 ahead of Sammy Mutahi 7:32.02 and fourth placed Kipsiele in 7:32.
Kenya showed its dominance, claiming position 1, 3, 4, 7 and 8 with Ethiopia taking second and sixth.