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 Grant Fisher and Woody Kincaid, who are teammates for the Bowerman Track Club and had already qualified in the 10K.

  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.

  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?”

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  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).

  In action on the final afternoon of trials are Noah Lyles, who will try to qualify for the 200 meters, and Sydney McLaughlin and Dalilah Muhammad, who will square off in the 400-meter hurdles.


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