The great outdoors beckon for Ethiopia's Dibaba

Fri Aug 14, 2015 6:29am EDT
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Born into athletics royalty in Ethiopia, middle distance runner Genzebe Dibaba is poised to win more glory for her illustrious family at the world championships in Beijing after years of indoor supremacy.

The younger sister of three-time Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba and Ejegayehu Dibaba, who won the 10,000m silver at the 2004 Athens Games, Genzebe stormed to a 1,500 meters world record at Monaco last month, eclipsing a 22-year-old mark that many thought might stand forever.

The dazzling run added to her four indoor world records, having set new marks in the 1,500m, 3,000m and two-mile events in an astonishing 15-day tour of Europe last year before adding the 5,000m in February.

Already boasting two world indoor titles, the Laureus sportswoman of the year would seem a certainty to finally clinch a long-awaited outdoor title, having long failed to meet expectations without a roof above her head.

Dibaba won her first world indoor title in 2012, with victory in the 1,500 at Istanbul, but has had more humble results outdoors and finished eighth in the final at the 2013 world championships.

"I wanted to train more for the outdoor season than the indoor season, so I changed my training totally," Dibaba, 24, said prior to her record-setting win at Monaco.

"I already have natural speed which I don't need to work on, so in training I've been working more on my endurance. Now I think I can run faster outdoors than I previously thought I was capable of."

Like her champion sisters, Dibaba was born in Bekoji, a small town in the Ethiopian highlands which has produced more Olympic medal-winning performances than many countries combined.   Continued...

Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia celebrates her new world record in the 1500 meters women event at the IAAF Diamond League Herculis meeting at the Louis II Stadium in Monaco, July 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Pierre Amet