Genzebe Dibaba ran a race in Paris that showed she would be a threat over the 5000 meter distance. Her swift destruction of Ayana Almaz over the last lap showed just how powerful this Dibaba is. Then, she ran 3:54.11 in Barcelona, and we were, well shocked. Her 3:50.07 was not so much as shocking, as in awe inspiring. Her run down the final stretch showed distress and focus, as she battled the demons that suggest one is not capable of reaching their dreams. On July 17, 2015, Genezebe Dibaba broke the record set by Chinese athletes that many thought would be unbroken, with her 3:50.07.
Sabrina Yohanes, our Ethiopian correspondent (Sabrina writes about everyone, but she has written some fine pieces on Ethiopian athletes for us), wrote this piece on Dibaba and her dreams for Beijing success.
Genzebe Dibaba Set to Cap Her Best Outdoor Season in Beijing
By Sabrina Yohannes
One of world indoor champion Genzebe Dibaba’s top goals for the outdoor season of 2015 was bringing her performances up to the level of her recent winter sessions.
“It’s what everyone wonders about: ‘You run well indoors, but outdoors, you are fatigued or you don’t have fast times’,” Dibaba, the holder of multiple indoor world records, told RunBlogRun at the start of the season. “God willing, this year, I know I have to maintain the good form I had indoors in the outdoor season and prepare well.”
“I have to answer everyone,” the Ethiopian Dibaba said, and then proceeded to do just that — even before she broke the outdoor world 1500m record in Monaco on July 17.
As she racked up an undefeated record including wins at the Eugene and Oslo Diamond League meets and improved 5000m personal bests — which concluded with the 14:15.41 she ran in Paris on July 4 — she declared mid-season: “I have answered the question I kept being asked.”
Although her attacks on her older sister Tirunesh’s 14:11.15 world record were not successful, Dibaba came away confident about future attempts.
“I believe next time I can do it,” she said in Monaco, though she didn’t specify when she might attempt it.
The 1500m then-African record 3:54.11 Dibaba ran in Barcelona on July 8 and her subsequent 3:50.07 world record were largely triggered by a successful workout of 800m repeats ending in a 1:58 clocking that indicated to both Dibaba and her coach Jama Aden what she might be ready to accomplish.
“After that, my coach said, ‘You must try the 1500 this year’,” said Dibaba, who also pointed to her 3:55.17 indoor world record last year as a good indicator of her potential.
“When I ran 1500m indoors, I believed I could break it outdoors, that I could run a faster time,” said Dibaba, whose first objectives for the 2015 summer — running as well outdoors as indoors, and clocking faster 5000m times, whether a world record or not — have now been met, as has her added goal of a 1500m world record.
What remains is earning outdoor track global hardware.
“I don’t have an Olympic or world championships medal,” she said. “At the world championships, I want to emerge having achieved something good for my country and for my own legacy.”
Though she is a former junior track and cross country world champion, at the senior level, Dibaba placed eighth in the 2009, 2011 and 2013 track worlds.
Having taken her first indoor world title in 2012 over 1500m, she injured a hamstring on the last lap of the London Olympic 1500m heats and after finishing the race anyway, she left the track [at 23:40] in tears of agony and in a wheelchair.
But she is poised to write her name into the history books at the August 22-30 2015 IAAF world championships in Beijing, and follow in the footsteps of the former world champion Tirunesh.
One or more of the Dibaba sisters have competed at every global track championships since the 2003 Paris worlds where Tirunesh won the 5000m.
The long distance specialists Tirunesh and her older sister Ejegayehu both medaled at the 2004 Olympics and 2005 worlds. Tirunesh took gold at the 2007 and 2013 worlds, and 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
Beijing isn’t the Continental Cup 3000m champion Genzebe’s first solo outing at the world championships with neither of her sisters in attendance, but it’s set to be her most successful, and she is favored in both the 1500m and the 5000m.
In the past, she has struggled to train in Addis Ababa’s wet and muddy season that starts every June, but she has addressed that problem, she said.
“I came to Europe and trained here in Barcelona because of the rainy season at home,” she said.
She has made other adjustments in her championships build-up in 2015.
“I also changed all my training,” she said. “I cut back on a lot of speed work. I did a lot of endurance work to run the 5000m.”
Having run 3000m and two mile indoor world records in 2014 in addition to the 1500m mark, Dibaba ran an indoor 5000m world record of 14:18.86 in February 2015. Her outdoor 5000m record quest was joined in Paris by Ethiopia’s 14:14.32 world leader and 2014 African champion Almaz Ayana, who will likely pose Dibaba’s biggest threat in the Beijing 5000.
But Dibaba found that preparing for her longer distance races – in which she leads the Diamond League rankings currently — helped her in all events.
“In the past, I … focused on speed, but recently, I’ve focused on endurance because I have natural speed,” said Dibaba. “Because I did a lot of endurance work, everything fell into place in my body.”
She and her sisters will be looking for everything to fall into place in Beijing as well to crown another Dibaba outdoor champion, ideally twice. The tradition has already been established by double gold-medalist Tirunesh at the 2005 worlds and the 2008 Olympics – the latter in the same Bird’s Nest Stadium Genzebe toes the line in for the 2015 global event.