Ethiopian’s Genzebe Dibaba was was on her class as she claimed her fifth world indoor medal when she won the 1500m gold medal at the ongoing IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham on Saturday (3).
Sifan Hassan and Laura Muir – the other 3000m medallists – joined her in action along with a supposedly fresh Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech, who won the Muller Indoor Grand Prix in an impressive 4:02.21 to lie second in the world rankings behind Dibaba’s 3:57.45.
Muir had won 3000m bronze behind Hassan and this time the Scot proved the better to finish just under a second down on Ethiopian world record-holder Dibaba.
The race started with a jog – 39.25 for the first 200m, which is only just inside five-minute pace, and picked up slightly through 400m in 76.48.
It was Dibaba who this time lost patience with the dawdle and she picked up the pace through 600m in 1:49.96.
Now Dibaba was operating at a mind-boggling 3:42 pace as she was running sub 30-second laps as she went through 800m in 2:20.81 and it was down to six runners to fight for the gold.
The third 400m through to 1200m was run in a vicious 59.77 but still Hassan, Muir and Chepkoech were holding on to the frantic pace.
The next 200m was run in 29.47 and that went away from Hassan. Down the back straight, Muir passed Hassan and briefly began to close on the leader.
Dibaba is special though and completing the last 800m inside two minutes she won in a superb 4:05.27.
“I am so happy to be able to do the double,” said Dibaba. “Last year I was sick but this time I was ready to run for my country.
“Laura was very strong but I am in good shape and that is why I won it. This is a gold for all the people of Ethiopia too.”
Muir was a brilliant second in 4:06.23 to take Britain’s first medal in this event since Kelly Holmes in Birmingham in 2003.
The three medallists finished well clear of the rest, US champion Shelby Houlihan taking fourth in 4:11.93 ahead of Kenya’s Winny Chebet fifth in 4:12.08, Jamaica’s Ashia Praught sixth in 4:12.86 and Kenyan steeplechaser Beatrice Chepkoech finishing a disappointing seventh place in 4:13.59.