By Keffyalew Gebremedhin – The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana put on a brilliant display of front-running to win the women’s 5,000 metres at the world championships on Sunday and deprive compatriot Genzebe Dibaba of an unprecedented double gold.
“I had to win the gold medal. It was a hard race, a hard competition in general,” said Ayana. “I want to thank my husband for the hard training in the last weeks. He loves me and he made it possible for me to win the gold and to achieve a championships recrod. Now I am the 5000m champion.”
“It is great for our country that we won gold, silver and bronze,” she said.
Almaz Ayana led an Ethiopian clean sweep of the 5,000m (Credit; Getty Images/RTESport/Athletics
The 23-year-old broke for home with four laps to go and clocked a championship record 14 minutes 26.83 seconds to win by more than 17 seconds, leading home an Ethiopian podium sweep.
Dibaba, who was hoping to become the first woman to win both the 1,500m and 5,000m at the same world championships or Olympics, was pipped at the line by compatriot Senbere Teferi, who took silver in 14.44.07.
With seven laps to go, the Japanese were dropped, an Ayana surge stringing the 15-woman field out, with Dibaba and Cherono following.
Some 800 metres later and the Ethiopian duo found themselves out by themselves in cool conditions after torrential rain in the Chinese capital.
Ayana, who was only competing the 5,000m, kicked again and built up a 50-metre lead on Dibaba, the former’s eyes glued on the big screen to see exactly where her compatriot was.
Ayana hit the bell for the last lap even further ahead and maintained that for a comprehensive victory.
Dibaba, who won the 1,500-meter title and was aiming for a distance double, was edged for the silver by Senbera Teferi, who finished in 14:44.07. Dibaba was 0.07 seconds behind for the bronze medal.
Tirunesh’s younger sister Genzebe Dibaba finished third in 14:44.14 on Sunday but she already had a title after winning 1,500m on Tuesday.
“I am not deceived about this bronze medal. My country won three medals. I can only be pleased about this. It was really a hard race,” said Dibaba.
She admitted that a tight competition timetable took a toll on her performance today.
“I had so many races recently and after the 1,500m final my injury on the left foot started. I have a heel spur which hurts a lot. The race was so tough for me because of this injury. My shape was at its best,” she said.