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Tirunesh Dibaba

Tirunesh DibabaTirunesh DibabaTirunesh DibabaTirunesh DibabaTirunesh Dibaba

Tirunesh Dibaba, born October 1, 1985 in Bekoji, Arsi, Ethiopia is a long distance track athlete and the outdoor 5000 meter world record holder. She is the current Olympic 5000 meter and 10,000 meter champion. She has also won four world track titles and five world cross country titles. She is nicknamed the "Baby Faced Destroyer". Born in the village of Bekoji, Dibaba was the 4th of 6 children. She is a member of the Oromo ethnic group, and was raised in the high-altitude Arsi Zone of the Oromia Region. She began doing athletics at the age of 14. She moved to the capital Addis Ababa in 2000. Dibaba is part of an athletic family, with older sister Ejegayehu Dibaba also making her mark on the international stage and brother Dejene marked as a future star. Their sister Genzebe won the junior race at the 2008 World Cross Country Championships. 1992 and 2000 Olympic champion Derartu Tulu is also their cousin. She continues the successful athletic legacy of the Oromo people in long distance running.

Dibaba's first fully international outdoor track event was the 2001 IAAF World Cross Country Championships. Running at the age of 15 in women's junior race, she finished 5th. She won the 5000 meter silver medal at the 2003 Afro-Asian Games. Dibaba had great success in the world championships athletics events of 2003, 2005 and 2007. In 2003, Dibaba won the 5000 meters in a sprint finish against Marta Dominguez of Spain and Edith Masai of Kenya. She became the youngest athlete ever to win an individual gold medal at the World Championships. So little was known about her that during this race British commentators Steve Cram and Brendan Foster failed to mention her name even once until the final 100 meters. At the 2005 championships, Dibaba produced a blistering finish to out-sprint compatriot Berhane Adere and her own sister Ejegayehu and also became the first woman to win the 10,000/5,000 meter double at the same championships. In 2007, when the championships were held in Osaka, Dibaba again utilised her sprint finish to overhaul Turkey's Elvan Abeylegesse despite a tumble that happened mid-race and having abdominal pains throughout the race. She became the only woman to win back-to-back 10,000 meter titles. In Osaka, Dibaba won with a time of 31:55.41.

At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Dibaba was beaten into third place by Meseret Defar of Ethiopia and Isabella Ochichi of Kenya in 5000 meter event. The result was considered by some to be a disappointment but at 19, she still became the youngest ever medalist for Ethiopia at the Olympics. In 2006 she won five out of six Golden League events in the same season, which earned her a total of $83,333. Dibaba is also a remarkably successful cross country runner; she has five IAAF World Cross Country Championships victories, including one junior title in Lausanne, in 2003, one short course title in Saint-Galmier in 2005, and two long course titles in Saint-Galmier in 2005 and Fukuoka in 2006. From 2007, there was just one race in each category. Dibaba won the silver in the women's race at Mombasa in 2007 and the gold at Edinburgh in 2008. Dibaba is known to have an on-track rivalry with Meseret Defar, and races featuring the two are highly anticipated, but rare, usually only occurring at championships.

A major feature of Dibaba's running style is an incredible sprint finish. During the final lap of the 10,000 meter in 2005, Dibaba was clocked over the closing 400 meters in 58.33 seconds. Dibaba created a new 5000 meter world record of 14 minutes 11.15 seconds at the Oslo Golden League 2008 meet. Dibaba won 10,000 meter Gold in Beijing Olympic on August 15, 2008, setting a new Olympic record time of 29:54.66; the old record of 30:17.49 had been set by fellow Ethiopian and cousin Derartu Tulu at Sydney Olympic Summer Games back in 2000. The new Olympic record was also the second fastest 10,000 meters of all time and an African record. The previous African record of 30:04.18 was held by Berhane Adere, set at the 2003 World Championships. One week later on August 22, 2008 she won the 5000 meters by beating the defending gold medalist Meseret Defar. Dibaba finished the race in 15:41.40. This olympic double win made her the first ever woman to win both 5000 and 10,000 meters at the same Olympics.

She was named 2008 Track & Field News Athlete of the Year. She also received the IAAF award for the female Performance of the Year for 2008, the same award she already collected in 2005. In 2009 injuries prevented her from competing in the 2009 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Amman and 2009 World Championships in Athletics in Berlin. On November 15, 2009 she won the Zevenheuvelenloop 15 kilometer race in Nijmegen, Netherlands and beat Kayoko Fukushi's 15k world record by almost half a minute, finishing in 46:28. This was her first competitive road race since 2005, but she downplayed the idea of moving on to road running, stating that the track remained her priority. At the 2010 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz she couldn't repeat her great performances from previous championships and finished fourth. Dibaba defended her 10,000 meter title at 2010 African Championships in Athletics in Nairobi with a time of 31:51.39 ahead of teammate Meselech Melkamu and Linet Masai of Kenya. Her final 400 meters was timed at 61 seconds.

Her career was again beset by injuries and after 16 months out of competition, she returned at the 2011 New Year's Eve San Silvestre Vallecana and won by beating Gelete Burka in a sprint finish. She won the two-mile race at the Boston Indoor Grand Prix and took her second career win at the Carlsbad 5000 in March. In her first outdoor track race of the year, she won the 10,000 meters at the Prefontaine Classic by holding off Florence Kiplagat at the line. Dibaba is married to 2004 and 2008 Olympic 10,000 meter silver medallist Sileshi Sihine. After the Beijing Olympics her club, the Prisons Police, bestowed the rank of Chief Superintendent for her services to the club and the country. A hospital named after her is located on the outskirts of Addis Ababa.

See more of Tirunesh at: www.tiruneshdibaba.net

source: www.wikipedia.org


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