News Archive

News Archive

World Champs (Day 8): Tirunesh Dibaba runs to a historic victory

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.