BEIJING – Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana put on a stunning display of front-running to win the women’s 5,000 meters by more than 17 seconds at the IAAF World Championships on Sunday and deprive compatriot Genzebe Dibaba of an unprecedented double gold.
The 23-year-old powered away from Dibaba with four laps to go and led home an Ethiopian podium sweep in a championship-record time of 14 minutes, 26.83 seconds.
Dibaba, who was hoping to become the first woman to win both the 1,500 meters and 5,000 meters at the same world championships or Olympics, was pipped at the line by compatriot Senbere Teferi, who took silver in 14:44.07.
“I had to win the gold medal,” Ayana told reporters. “It was a hard race, a hard competition in general. It was great for our country that we won gold, silver and bronze.”
The 24-year-old Dibaba, who was almost as dominant in the 1,500 meters on Tuesday as Ayana was in the 5,000 meters, went with her compatriot when she initially broke to the front of the field with seven laps to go.
After aggravating an injury during her 1,500-meter triumph, however, she was unable to stand the pace when Ayana moved up another gear.
To add insult to injury, the championship record Ayana bettered was set by bronze medalist Dibaba’s sister Tirunesh at the 2005 world championships.
“My country won three medals, I can only be pleased about this,” she said.
“It was a really hard race. I had so many races recently and after the 1,500 meters final my injury on the left foot started. I have a heel spur which hurts a lot. The race was hard because of this injury.”
Dibaba is the cousin of twice Olympic champion Derartu Tulu, while triple Olympic champion Tirunesh won the 5,000-10,000 double at the Bird’s Nest Stadium at the 2008 Olympics.
The defeat will not do much to tarnish her breakthrough season, during which she shattered the long-standing 1,500 meter record, and offers the prospect of an intriguing family clash at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Tirunesh, who took this season off to have a baby, won the 5,000 meters at the 2003 and 2005 world championships.
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