BEIJING (Reuters) - Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba stormed to victory in the world championships 1,500 meters on Tuesday to claim her maiden global outdoor title and add to her family’s impressive collection of medals.
The 24-year-old world record holder tired of a tactical race and hit the front with two laps to go, outpacing the field over the final 800 meters to win in four minutes 8.09 seconds.
Sister of triple Olympic champion Tirunesh and cousin of twice Olympic champion Derartu Tulu, Dibaba added the outdoor title to the indoor world crown she captured in 2012.
“I worked very hard for the last three years,” she said. “It’s great to have such a strong performance. My sister won the gold medal in this stadium at the Olympic Games so I wanted to share this family experience.”
Tirunesh, who took this season off to have a baby, won the 5,000-10,000 double at the Bird’s Nest Stadium in 2008.
Kenya’s former world junior champion Faith Kipyegon was the only runner to stay with Dibaba over the last 400 and took silver in 4.08.96.
“Genzebe is just too fast in the finish,” said the Commonwealth Games champion. “I wanted to keep up with her but she is the real winner.
“She is also my idol and my friend. With her in the final the silver has a taste of gold to me.”
Ethiopian-born Sifan Hassan took bronze for the Netherlands in 4.09.34 but was not happy.
“It was not the race I wanted to run,” she said. “I completely messed up my tactics, I was hoping for a faster pace. I am so upset about that, I have to come back again and try for more.”
Dibaba gave notice of the blistering pace she was capable of when she ran a world record 3:50.07 in Monaco in July and the tactics of Shannon Rowbury and 2011 world champion Jennifer Simpson were clear from the start.
The American pair went to the front and slowed the race down for the first 700 meters until Dibaba broke for the lead after the start of the penultimate lap.
“I had a lot of confidence ... because I am the record holder and I trained so hard in the last months,” said Dibaba.
“I know everybody in this race and I know everything about my competitors so I was very confident in the last 400.”
Sweden’s defending champion Abeba Aregawi finished sixth.
Editing by Ed Osmond