Chelimo holds off charge in rough 5K at trials; Fisher qualifies again

Associated Press

Paul Chelimo held off a pair of rivals in a riveting sprint to the finish of a rough-and-tumble 5,000-meter race at U.S. Olympic track trials.

Down the homestretch, Chelimo drifted from the inside into Lane 4 to box out Grand Blanc runner Grant Fisher and Woody Kincaid, who are teammates for the Bowerman Track Club and had already qualified in the 10K.

Paul Chelimo, left, celebrates with Grant Fisher after winning the finals of men's 5000-meter run at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials Sunday, June 27, 2021, in Eugene, Ore.

Chelimo won Sunday's race in 13 minutes, 26.82 seconds — only .19 ahead of Fisher and .31 in front of Kincaid. After the finish, Chelimo reached back and hugged both by the neck.

Fisher and Kincaid both earned spots on the Olympic team. Michigan State's Morgan Beadlsecomb narrowly missed, finishing sixth.

The 2016 Olympic silver medalist in the 5,000 said he had no problem using the unorthodox tactic of drifting to the middle at the end, especially considering the way the race went.

Running at or near the front throughout most of the race, he was clipped several times over the 12 1/2 trips around the track in temperatures that approached 90 degrees (32 Celsius).

“It was one of my goals, drift them all the way to the stands,” Chelimo said. “Yes, it's fair. I didn't touch anyone's hands, didn't impede anyone. When I got clipped like 10 times, is that fair?”

The 5,000 had originally been scheduled for the afternoon, but organizers moved it to a morning start due to the extreme heat. The forecast high Sunday in Eugene is 109 (43 C).

Former Michigan Wolverine and Tiffany Porter qualified for a third consecutive Olympic cycle, becoming the first female Wolverine Olympian to do so, and will compete for Great Britain in the women's 100-meter hurdles. Her sister, Cindy Sember, who also competed in the 2016 Rio games, is expected to be added to the British team as an at-large member.