Nerja, Spain – Yomif Kejelcha clinched a thrilling victory in the Ethiopian 10,000m Olympic trials on Friday night, setting a new personal record with a world-leading time of 26:31.01. The 26-year-old’s stunning performance came after an intense final sprint against Berihu Aregawi, who also achieved a career-best time of 26:31.13. Olympic champion Selemon Barega secured the third spot on Ethiopia’s Olympic team for Paris, finishing with a time of 26:34.93.

The race was one of the highest quality 10,000m events ever, with four athletes finishing under 26:40 and six under 26:50 for the first time. Remarkably, 17-year-old Biniam Mehary finished fourth, setting a new world U20 record with a time of 26:37.93, surpassing the previous record set by the late Samuel Wanjiru 19 years ago by four seconds.

On a calm, mild night with temperatures at 21°C, the race featured excellent pacemaking. Aregawi, Kejelcha, Barega, and Mehari reached the halfway mark in 13:17. After the last pacemaker dropped out one kilometer later, Aregawi, the world 5km record-holder, increased the pace in an attempt to shake off his competitors. Only Mehari fell behind in the ninth kilometer.

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Entering the final lap, Barega started to lose momentum, leaving Aregawi and Kejelcha to battle for the win. Kejelcha made his move on the final bend, but Aregawi initially resisted. Undeterred, Kejelcha surged ahead in the last 30 meters to secure his victory.

In the women’s race, Fotyen Tesfay delivered an outstanding performance, winning with a time of 29:47.71, placing her just outside the top 10 on the world all-time list. Tsigie Gebreselama, the 2023 world cross-country silver medallist, finished second with a time of 29:49.33, followed closely by world bronze medallist Ejgayehu Taye, who also set a personal best with a time of 29:50.52.