13 February 2018

Ethiopia: Genzebe Dibaba Returns With Her Winning Style At IAAF World Indoor Tour

First, Genzebe Dibaba powered to the second fastest indoor 1500m of all time to highlight the Indoor Meeting Karlsruhe last week Saturday at the opening leg of the 2018 IAAF World Indoor Tour.

The Ethiopian's sensational 3:57.45 run was one of five world-leading performances to play out before a vociferous sell-out crowd of 4,500 at the Messe Halle Karlsruhe. That was a victory well predicted and ended with consummate ease.

Clearly, Genzebe likes to race in Karlsruhe. The Ethiopian set the 3:55.17 world indoor record at this meeting four years ago on the nearby Europahalle track. Two years prior to that, she clocked 4:00.13, which was, after this evening, the 10th fastest run of all time.

According to the report from the spot, on this return engagement, she looked like the Genzebe of 2014, attacking her world standard from the gun.

She appeared eager early on, testing her patience behind the pacesetter Nelly Jepkosgei, who opened with a 1:01.16 opening 400m. That was well inside the 62.5 in Genzeb's world record run, but too quick for Jepkosgei, who struggled in the waning stages of her 800-metre assignment. The tempo not to her liking, Genzebe forged ahead to go it alone, passing the 800m mark in 2:07.52, a second-and-a-half faster than four years ago.

While Genzebe went to break the record from the outset, the race for second was a contest of patience. Kenyans Beatrice Chepkoech and Winny Chebet tried to maintain for the first 800 metres, but quick paid for those ambitions, both falling back over the next two laps. That played well into the hands of Konstanze Klosterhalfen, who often prefers to run alone. Passing the Kenyan duo, the German, who will celebrate her 21st birthday on 18 February, pushed on to eventually reach the line in 4:04.00, a personal best.

Chepkoech was third in 4:08.33 and Chebet fourth clocking 4:09.45.

Genzebe was indeed, according to the spot reporter, the meeting's main global attraction.

In the men's event, Hagos Gebrhiwet and Yomif Kejelcha bided their time before pouncing in the men's 3000m to leave Karlsruhe with an Ethiopian 1-2. The pair waited until midway through the final lap before taking command, Hagos winning in 7:37.91, to close the meeting with its fifth world lead. Yomif was next in 7:38.67, a personal best, holding off the Abdalaati Iguider's strong but late finishing charge. The Moroccan clocked 7:39.92 ahead of Adel Mechaal's 7:74.14, a personal best for the Spaniard who took last year's European indoor crown.

Second, Genzebe Dibaba made another spectacular win at the Spanish capital city Madrid by taking the 1, 500m title at a time of 4 minutes 02.43 seconds leaving behind Konstanze Klosterhalfen of Germany at 4:04.72 and Eilish McColgan of Britain with a time of 4:08.07 to take the second and third places, in the order of that.

This victory was registered in the space of six days. This shows she has all the power to repeat what she has done in 2015.

Genzebe's rise to prominence reached its climax when she set a new indoor record in the women's 2,000m world record at the Miting International de Catalunya event in the Spanish city of Sabadell four years ago.

She finished the race in a time of 5:23.75 which eclipsed the previous record by just about seven seconds. That record was set 19 years ago by Romanian Gabriella Szabo.

Genzebe also proved that she is a myth when she displayed fitness that will make her very difficult to beat in just over a month at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing. In a race with almost all of the best 1500m runners in the world, Genzebe finished nearly six full seconds ahead of runner-up Sifan Hassan.

The Ethiopian heroine tally of World records now totals five, as she also holds the 1500, 3k, two-mile, and 5k records indoors.

After all this she faced an unexpected debacle in the 2016 Rio Olympics when she won the silver medal in the Women's 1500m race.

That has created shock among her fans and by the entire Ethiopian athletics fans. As if that was not enough, in the 2017 London World Athletics Championship she finished way down the line. That was indeed a big disappointment for her and for her national fans.

She is the younger sister of the three-time Olympic gold medallist Tirunesh Dibaba and Olympic silver medallist Ejegayehu Dibaba, and the cousin of former Olympic two-time gold medallist Derartu Tulu. She was named Laureus Sportswoman of the Year for the 2014 alongside male winner counterpart Novak Djokovic and was 2015 IAAF World Athlete of the Year.

It seems now Genzebe returns to bring those great fame and name to her and to her country.

Compiled by Solomon Bekele

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