Obiri beats Dibaba in Rome to set new national record


Hellen Obiri of Kenya  lit up the IAAF Diamond League on Thursday setting a Kenyan record of 14:18.37 to come home alone in the 5000m.

The talk beforehand had been all about Genzebe Dibaba’s attempt at her older sister Tirunesh’s world record, and confidence seemed high in the Ethiopian’s camp, with a sub-14-minute pace requested at the technical meeting two days before.

However, it was eventually decided that a 14:10 pace would suffice, and Dibaba duly assumed pole position behind the pacemakers and passed 1000m in 2:51. However, at 3000m, reached in 8:38, the first cracks were beginning to show for the 1500m world record holder.

Obiri, who had finished second in the Olympic 5000m, soon put Dibaba’s endurance to the test, charging ahead at the front of the race. It was a surge no one, not even Dibaba, could handle, and the Kenyan reeled off a 65-second lap to bring her clear of her rivals.

From there, she kept pouring coal on the fire, eventually crossing the line and falling to the track with a world lead and national record in hand. Agnes Tiprop came through strongly for second in 14:33.09, with young Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey third in 14:33.32. Dibaba faded to sixth in 14:41.55.

“When I came to this race, I told myself that nobody can beat me,” said Obiri. “I thought Genzebe would push it forward but when she did not, I tried to do that myself. From the beginning, I was looking to the front, thinking about a time around 14:18. I even think I can improve it at the next competition.”



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