Tokyo previews – Women’s 10,000m

One of the Olympic Games most anticipated clashes comes on the final night as world record holders former and present duel in the Tokyo twilight. Here’s our women’s 10,000m preview.


Saturday 7 August 11:45 UK Time (Final)

2021 Fastest Times

2021 RankingTimeAthleteCountry
129:01.0Letesenbet GideyEthiopia
229:06.8Sifan HassanNetherlands
329:39.4Gudaf TsegayEthiopia
429:50.8Kalkidan GezahegneBahrain
530:06.0Tsigie GebreselamaEthiopia
630:19.3Tsehay GemechuEthiopia
730:20.8Yalemzerf YehualawEthiopia
830:37.2Irine Jepchumba KimaisKenya
930:37.3Daisy CherotichKenya
1030:45.8Sheila Chepkirui KiprotichKenya

British interest

Jess Judd and Eilish McColgan are the British representation. McColgan is fresh off her 14.28.55 British record over 5000m and edged out Judd in the British trials. Both are doubling up with the 5000m in Tokyo and this will be their second event.

McColgan is a fraction away from her mum Liz’s 30.57.07 Scottish record, which she set in winning the 1991 World Champs in the very same city. Eilish has stated her intention to break the record and if she can a top six finish is not off the cards. Judd’s finishing speed has proven impressive throughout this season, especially in her British Champs win over 5000m.

The favourites

Letsenbet Gidey of Ethiopia is in ridiculous form, winning the Ethiopian trials in a world record 29.01.03, all by herself. To think her Ethiopian teammates in Tokyo, Gebreselama and Gemechu, were a minute back is impressive enough but made ludicrous when considering they became the 14th and 26th fastest athletes of all time in the process. Gidey is only running the 10,000m in Tokyo and finished second in her only previous major champs in Doha 2019. She is also the world record holder in the 5000m.

The woman who beat her that night in Doha? Sifan Hassan, the Dutch phenomenon who unfathomably also won the 1500m in that same championship. She was the 10,000m record holder for all of two days when she ran on the same track as Gidey to win in Hengelo, her 29.06.82 beating the previous record by almost eleven seconds. Hassan’s biggest opposition may be herself, with the World champion currently entered for the 1500, 5000 and 10,000m in Tokyo. One must surely go or else she could be running six races in only nine days. With a 3.51.95 1500m best she will fancy herself running the race in any which way but faces an Ethiopian who will be fresh and full of confidence.

An interesting addition is Hellen Obiri, the 5000m world champion from Doha. She ran the 10,000m there also but could only come fifth. How she will react to the double this time will be the question but she won the Kenyan trials at altitude comfortably in 30.53.60. Having won in Oslo over 5000m she seems to be in good shape and will be in the medal mix in Tokyo. She is joined by Irene Cheptai who ran 30.51.39 in Stockholm and Sheila Chelangat (31.10.37) in the Kenyan team.

Kalkidan Gezahegne of Bahrain ran 29.50.77 in Portugal to put herself in contention for a medal come Tokyo. She came fifth in the 1500m in the Daegu World Championships all the way back in 2011.

Emily Sisson of USA won impressively in the heat at the Olympic trials (31.03.82). That may be a key indicator in the humid conditions of Tokyo and she is just doing the one event in Tokyo.

Other notable mentions include Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal of Norway who ran 30.50.84 in Oslo in May. Konstanz Klosterhalfen fits in that bracket but has not raced since clocking 31.01.71 in Texas in February.

Our medal predictions

  1. Sifan Hassan
  2. Letsenbet Gidey
  3. Emily Sisson


WR: 29.01.03 Letesenbet Gidey (2021)

OR: 29.17.45 Almaz Ayana (2016 Rio)

Featured image “Almaz Ayana, Tirunesh Dibaba und Dera Dida (10.000 Meter Lauf) bei den IAAF Leichtathletik-Weltmeisterschaften 2017 in London” by marcoverch is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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