Dibaba in Boston, Defar in Stuttgart, Feb.7, by Alfons Juck, Notes by Larry Eder


Two of the biggest stars in the sport, Tirunesh Dibaba and Meseret Defar, women who traded world records at 5,000 meters outdoors and several records indoor, will both be racing on February 7, but continents apart! Dibaba will run the Reebok Boston Indoor Games and Meseret Defar will be running in Stuttgart, Germany on the same date!

While this does give the athletes the attention they deserve, and two crowds can be satisfied, just think of the pandemonium of a Dibaba vs. Defar in a non-championship race! In the overall racing between the two, Defar holds the edge, 17-11, but Dibaba is now, virtually unbeatable.



By Bob Ramsak
(c) 2009 TRACK PROFILE Report, all rights reserved

Ethiopian superstars Tirunesh Dibaba and Meseret Defar will both race over 3000m on Saturday, February 7, but their efforts will take place an ocean apart.

Dibaba, who last August became the first woman to win both the 5000 and 10,000m Olympic titles, will headline the event at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games. Defar, whom Dibaba succeeded as Olympic champion in the 5000m, will compete over the same distance at the Sparkassen Cup in Stuttgart, Germany, earlier on the same evening.

Dibaba, 23, returns to the Reggie Lewis Center near Boston on the heels of a stellar season in which she also collected her fifth individual world cross country title and set her first outdoor world record with a 14:11.15 run in the 5000m at the ExxonMobil Bislett Games in Oslo in June. Dibaba has twice set world indoor 5000m records in Boston, most recently in 2007, running 14:27.42.

Last year Defar defended her world indoor 3000m title in Valencia in March and took the bronze in a tactical Olympic 5000m final, finishing nearly three seconds behind Dibaba. After losing the world 5000m record to her rival, she tried to wrestle it back six weeks later in Stockholm, but came up just short in a largely solo run clocking 14:12.88, the second fastest performance in history.

Defar set the world indoor record in the 3000 on the same Stuttgart track in 2007, clocking 8:23.72, a performance superior to her outdoor best over the distance. An assault on that record in Stuttgart last year came up short, but her 8:27.93 run was nonetheless the fourth fastest in history.

Meanwhile, Dibaba produced her fastest career indoor 3000m race last year at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games, clocking 8:33.37.

Outside of major championships, meetings between the pair have become exceedingly rare. Their last indoor face-off came in Birmingham, England, on Feb. 20, 2004, where Defar took a narrow 3000m victory, 8:33.44 to 8:33.56. In one of the sport's fiercest rivalries, Defar holds a 17-11 edge in their track meetings, dating back to the 2002 World Junior Championships.

- Elsewhere in Stuttgart and Boston

Also announced for the Stuttgart meet, annually the world's finest single-day indoor competition, is an assault on Wilson Kipketer's 1000m world indoor mark of 2:14.96 by world indoor 800m champion Abubaker Kaki. Last winter, at just 18, the Sudanese star clocked 2:15.77 to become the fourth fastest ever over the rarely-run distance. Olympic champion and 110m hurdles world record holder Dayron Robles of Cuba will contest the 60m Hurdles. Blanka Vlasic of Croatia, the Olympic high jump silver medallist, is on the slate as well.

In Boston, Australian Steve Hooker, the Olympic pole vault champion, will headline his event, as will pole vaulter Jenn Stuczynski, the Olympic silver medallist. New Zealander Nick Willis, the Olympic 1500m bronze medallist, will lead the mile field.

[Note: TPR will provide on-site coverage from Stuttgart.]


Special thanks to Bob Ramsak of http://www.trackprofile.com

For more on our sport, please click http://www.american-trackandfield.com

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