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Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Dibaba sets three world marks in 15 days

By Peter Gambaccini
Runner's World

Genzebe Dibaba
Genzebe Dibaba, here celebrating her 3,000-meter win in Stockholm, has been on fire recently.
Genzebe Dibaba’s European indoor track adventure has brought impressive results, with Dibaba setting three world indoor records in 15 days.

On Feb. 15 at the Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix at Birmingham, England, the Ethiopian clocked two miles in 9:00.48, demolishing the five-year-old world best of 9:06.26 by fellow Ethiopian Meseret Defar, the longtime archrival of Dibaba’s older sister, Tirunesh.

Dibaba followed a pace-setter through a first mile of 4:31.7, but then ran solo for the second mile in an even quicker 4:28.8. She’d actually been 10 seconds up on Defar’s record pace with a quarter-mile remaining.

Her gesture at the end, extending her arms in the air, was a mixture of exuberance at the new record, but also frustration at just missing the 9:00 barrier.

“I’m very delighted, because to break three world records was what I’d planned,” said Dibaba, who won the 1,500 meters at the 2012 world indoor championships but will switch her focus to the 3,000 at the 2014 championships in Sopot, Poland in March.

“In the middle of the race, I felt a bit weak and tired, but with the help of the crowd and all the buzzing I was able to gain momentum and get the record.”

Tirunesh Dibaba, a triple Olympic gold medalist, had run 9:12.23 for two miles on this same Birmingham track two years ago.

Genezebe Dibaba set a 3,000-meter world record of 8:16.66 in Stockholm on February 6, more than seven seconds below Defar’s previous record and the fastest women’s 3,000 at any venue since 1993. Five days earlier, Dibaba set an all-time indoor best for 1,500 meters with a 3:55.17 in Karlsruhe, Germany, taking more than three seconds off Russian Yelena Soboleva’s record.

The other highlight of the Birmingham meet was a 1:44.52 in the 800 meters by Ethiopian Mo Aman, the 2013 outdoor world champion at that distance. Aman, just 20 years old, is now the third fastest indoor 800-meter runner of all time behind Wilson Kipketer and Yuriy Borzakovskiy.