Perfect Conditions in Helsinki

Saturday, 6 August 2005


Athletes around Helsinki have woken today to perfect weather for the Start of the IAAF World Athletic Championships. For Oceania athletes it is going to be a busy day on the track with 16 athletes appearing in the stadium.


One athlete who will be hoping the weather holds will be New Zealand 10,000 metre runner Kimberley Smith. Kimberley has been in great form leading into the world athletic championships after smashing the New Zealand women's 5000m record at a meeting in Stockholm in the lead-up to the Championships


Smith ran 15m 5.68s to erase Nyla Carroll's New Zealand national record of 15m 9.32s set in Christchurch in 1996. The 23 year old, who also broke Carroll's New Zealand 10,000m record in early May, finished sixth in the race, won by Irene Kipchumba of Kenya in 15m 00.34s.


Kimberley will be joined in the women's 10,000 metre final by Australia's Benita Johnson who boasts a personal best time of 30:37.68 while Smith's personal best is 31:21.00. The race looks wide open with Great Britain's, Paula Radcliffe, 30.01.09 hoping to end the dominance of the Ethiopian runners, although she has stated that this is a warm-up for next Sunday's marathon. Ethiopia will be looking to repeat their podium sweep from Edmonton 2001.


Their charge will be led by defending champion Berhane Adere, who followed up her Edmonton runner-up showing by winning in Paris with a sensational 30:04.18 performance in the finest women's 10,000m race ever. Her stiffest competition should come from Tirunesh Dibaba, this year's double World Cross Country champion and the season's fastest over the distance (30:15.67). Werknesh Kidane and Dibaba's older sister, Ejagayou, make up the Ethiopian entries. Kenyan Edith Masai is the top hope for Kenya - to halt Ethiopia's dominance in the event, which now extends to three consecutive titles.


The race will commence at 9.15pm local Helsinki time - 4.15am EST / 6.15am NZ time.