Beatrice Chebet pays tribute to Ethiopia’s Tsegay

 Beatrice Chebet

 New world 10,000 metres record holder Beatrice Chebet (left) and word 800m champion Mary Moraa join a jig at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Monday upon arrival from Oregon, USA. 

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Chebet and Tsegay took their supremacy battle to the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League.
  • Chebet erased the previous time of 29:01.03 set by Letesenbet Gidey from Ethiopia in June 2023. 

World-great stories about middle and long-distance races in athletics can’t be complete without Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes.

Athletes from these two neighbouring countries have pushed each to great length and height, and as a result, world, championship and national records have tumbled.

From the days of Paul Tergat and Haile Gebrselassie in the late 90s and early 2000s to the trilogy of Vivian Cheruiyot, Tirunesh Dibaba and Meseret Defar - the two nations have given the sport endless memories.

Who can forget the battle between Olympic and world 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon and former 1,500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba that left fans on the edge of their seats?

That story won’t end soon with Kipyegon, the current 1,500m world record holder, upholding her supremacy with the multi-world champion Beatrice Chebet and world 10,000m champion Gudaf Tsegay from Ethiopia joining the fray.

Chebet and Tsegay took their supremacy battle to the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League on Saturday in Eugene, United States, this time around, in the 10,000m race.

They say revenge is best served cold.

However, Chebet doesn’t think so after beating Tsegay to set a new 10,000m world record of 28 minutes and 54.14 seconds, making history as the first woman to break the 29-minute barrier over the distance.

Chebet erased the previous time of 29:01.03 set by Letesenbet Gidey from Ethiopia on June 8 last year in Hengelo, the Netherlands.

It’s at the Prefontaine Classic where Tsegay beat Chebet to second place and set a new 5,000m world record of 14:00.21 last year, where the Kenyan improved her personal best to 14:05.92.

Chebet, the 5km world record holder, has paid glowing tribute to Tsegay for playing a vital role in her success over the last two years.

“It wasn’t about revenge and rivalry painted negatively. We are best of buddies and we always try to help each other whether from Ethiopia, Kenya or somewhere else,” said Chebet, adding that Tsegay powered her to a world record-breaking feat at Prefontaine.

“Running with Gudaf makes me work hard to produce the best in me and Saturday's moments were no exception,” explained Chebet, the reigning Commonwealth Games 5,000m champion.

Chebet detailed how she faced Tsegay at the 2022 Zurich Diamond League final in a 5,000m race, where she won in 14:32, edging out the Ethiopian to third place in 14:33. They would again face off in the London Diamond League in July last year, where Tsegay had the final laugh, winning in 14:12.29 as Chebet settled second in a career-best 14:12.92.

Tsegay again beat Chebet to second place in 5,000m at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League final last year, where she shattered Kipyegon’s three-month-old world record of 14:05.20 from Paris with a new time of 14:00.21.

“Facts don’t lie…I have improved my times in 5,000m and 10,000m because of Gudaf, who pushes me to the limit. We push each other to produce the best in athletics,” said Chebet, who had not planned to break the world record in Oregon.