The Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba wrote athletics history at the World
Championships in Helsinki. She became the first woman ever to win both
track long distances in global championships – the Olympics and World
Championships. After her 10,000 m victory on the opening day, she added
a gold medal in the 5,000 m a week later. Also no male athlete ever
made this double in the history of the World Championships.
At the Olympic Games there were five athletes who achieved the
double. The last double happened 25 years ago, when the Ethiopian
Miruts Yifter won the 5,000 m and the 10,000 m. Lasse Viren (Finland)
even won the double twice. He won two gold medals in the Olympic Games
in 1972 and 1976. Vladimir Kuts (UdSSR/1956), Emil Zatopek (Czech
Republic/1952 at the Olympic Games in Helsinki) and Hannes Kolehmainen
(Finland/1912) were his predecessors.
Now Tirunesh Dibaba has joined this group. She once again showed an
impressive final sprint for a victory winning 14:38,59 minutes. That
was also a new championships’ record. And as in the 10,000 m once more
three Ethiopians shared all three medals. Meseret Defar (14:39,54) got
the silver medal and, like in the 10,000 m race, Tirunesh’s sister
Ejegayehu (14:42,47) took the bronze. The fourth Ethiopian in the race
was Meselech Melkamu who finished fourth (14:43,47). Fifth place was
for Huina Xing (China/14:43,64).
It was the Chinese Yingjie Sun, who, after a slow beginning, at the
1,000 m mark (3:02.53) increased the pace. The next kilometre was run
in 2:51 minutes. After that it went back to three minutes pace.
They reached 4,000 m in 11:54.40. With two laps to go eleven runners
were in the leading group. Now Huina Xing took up the lead. But the
Ethiopians remained on her heels and increased the pace in the last lap
– as they had done in the 10,000 m.
Tirunesh Dibaba ran the last lap in 58 seconds, and the last 200
meters in 28 seconds. Nevertheless Meseret Defar didn’t give up until
the last few meters. „I thought it would become a slow race. But with
her early pace Yingjie Sun made the championships’ record possible“,
said Tirunesh Dibaba. „My cousin Derartu Tulu was a great inspiration
for me.“ Tulu had won the 10,000 m gold medal in the 1992 and 2000
Olympic Games for the Ethiopian team.