Although he missed qualification for a fourth Olympic appearance Haile Gebrselassie was wearing his usual broad smile.
"It is okay. I am not disappointed,'' the 39-year-old Ethiopian said after the 10,000m at the 30th Fanny Blankers-Koen Games which was held under warm and sunny conditions. The 10,000m at this IAAF World Challenge Meeting was an Ethiopian qualification race for the London Olympic Games. A big contingent of Ethiopian runners were attempting to qualify for the two Olympic berths which were still open.
Gebrselassie was trying to qualify for his fourth Olympic Games in the city where he is a citizen of honour and carries the nickname, "Mr. Hengelo''.
Although the weather was extremely hot for the 25 laps on the track the produced times were excellent. The race wasn't decided until the final lap in a long sprint among seven athletes. Tariku Bekele and Lelisa Desisa took the honours. Bekele won in 27:11:70 clocking the fastest time of 2012. Desisa finished just 0.28 back. The third Ethiopian 10,000m Olympic spot is for Tariku Bekele's brother Kenenisa, the defending champion, who is already qualified. Gebrselassie took seventh place in 27:20:39 Thirteen of the nineteen finishers broke the 28-minute barrier, a great effort in the hot weather.
Kszczot and Chepseba impress
There were a lot of very good performances in this the most important track meet in The Netherlands. Particularly the men's 800m and 1500m were of high calibre. Poland's Adam Kszczot won the 800m in 1:43.83 in a race in which six athletes broke 1:45.00. Dutchman Robert Lathouwers was back in business after a long period of injuries. He qualified for London finishing fifth in 1:44:61, a personal best.
Kenyan Nixon Kiplimo Chepseba was the fastest in the 1500m with an excellent time of 3:29:90.
In the women's middle distance events the time were not quite of the same high level as in the men's races. In the women's 800m 2007 World champion Janeth Jepkosgei clocked a winning time of 1:57:79, the second fastest time of the year. The 1500m featured a very close finish in which Briton Hannah England proved to be the fastest with 4:04:05.
Dutch spectators could cheer for a countryman in the final of the 100 metres. Churandy Martina, a Dutch hope for London, was the fastest clocking 10.18. Briton Philips Idowu won the Triple Jump with 17.31m, a stadium record and the best result ever made in the Low Countries.
Germany's World champion Robert Harting couldn't crack the 70 metres barrier in the Discus Throw as as he did several times already this year but still managed to win with a 68.13m best. Virgilius Alekna (65.52m, LTU) and Dutchman Erik Cadee (65.49m) were second and third.
The men's Shot Put competition was held on Saturday in a square in front of the Hengelo town hall. Canadian Dylan Armstrong (21.44m) was far too strong for his opponents Tomas Majewski (Poland, 20.87m) and Dutchman Rutger Smith (20.30m).