Ayana eclipses Dibaba to lead 5,000m sweep

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY LUKE PHILLIPS

Al­maz Ayana led an Ethiopian medals sweep in the women’s 5,000m on Sun­day as 1,500m win­ner Gen­zebe Dibaba had to set­tle for bronze at the world cham­pi­onships in Bei­jing.

In cool con­di­tions af­ter heavy rain, Ayana ran a cham­pi­onships record 14 min­utes 26.83 sec­onds to win com­fort­ably from Sen­bere Te­feri, who put on a late surge to pip Dibaba by seven-hun­dredths.

Dibaba, younger sis­ter of 5,000-me­ter world record-holder Tirunesh, had al­ready won the 1,500m, but Ayana’s pace over the last five laps put paid to her hopes of a dou­ble.

“I had to win the gold medal!” said Ayana. “It was a hard race and a hard com­pe­ti­tion in gen­eral. It is great for our coun­try that we won gold, sil­ver and bronze.”

Dibaba said she was “not dis­ap­pointed” with bronze and added that she had been ham­pered by a heel in­jury since win­ning her maiden world cham­pi­onships gold in the 1,500m.

“My coun­try won three medals, I can only be pleased about that,” Dibaba said.

“It was a re­ally hard race. I’ve had so many races re­cently and af­ter the 1,500-me­ters fi­nal, my left foot started to pain me — I have a heel spur that hurts a lot.

“This race was so tough for me be­cause of this in­jury. My shape ( fit­ness) was at its best.”

Dibaba, whose world record in the 1,500 me­ters in Lausanne last month was the fourth she cur­rently holds, looked com­fort­able for the first half of the race.

Ja­panese pair Misaki Onishi and Ayuko Suzuki raced out to an early lead, tracked by Dibaba in the 12- and- a- half lap event.

The chase group com­prised the Ethiopi­ans Dibaba, Ayana and Te­feri, Kenyan quar­tet Vi­ola Kibi­wot, Mercy Cherono, Irene Chep­tai and Janet Kisa, and Ethiopian- born Bahraini Mimi Belete.

With seven laps to go, the Ja­panese were dropped and an Ayana surge, tracked by Dibaba and Cherono, strung out the 15-woman field.

Some 800 me­ters later and the Ethiopian duo were out by them­selves.

Ayana, who was only com­pet- ing in the 5,000 me­ters, kicked again and built up a 50-me­ter lead on Dibaba, her eyes glued to the big screen as she mon­i­tored her pur­suer’s po­si­tion.

Ayana hit the bell for the last lap even fur­ther ahead and she main­tained her ad­van­tage for a com­pre­hen­sive vic­tory.

AP

Gold medal win­ner Ethiopia’s Al­maz Ayana, mid­dle, sil­ver medal win­ner Sen­bere Te­feri, left, and bronze medal win­ner Gen­zebe Dibaba celebrate af­ter the women’s 5,000-me­ter fi­nal at the World Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships at the Bird’s Nest sta­dium in Bei­jing, Sun­day, Aug. 30.

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