MOSCOW (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba bided her time before letting loose on the final lap with an awesome display of speed to complete a hat-trick of world championship 10,000 metres titles on Sunday.
Olympic champion Dibaba who is now unbeaten in her 11 outings over the distance won in 30:43.35.
Kenya’s Gladys Cherono was second in 30:45.17 and fast-finishing Ethiopian Belaynesh Oljira pipped Emily Chebet for bronze in 30:46.98.
The half-full stadium got behind the petite runner known as ‘the baby-faced destroyer and cheered her to the line but one person was not at Luzhniki to watch Dibaba’s latest triumph.
“My sister (1,500 metres runner Genzebe Dibaba) did her heats this morning and wanted to watch me in the stadium tonight but I refused and told her to watch it in the hotel because she needs some rest,” Dibaba told reporters.
“I have not decided if I will watch her here or if I will fly home.”
Dibaba will not add the 5,000 to her medal tally in Moscow, despite originally being entered for the race.
“I am not disappointed that I will not run the double because we have many young talents and they need their chance too,” she said.
Arguably the greatest women’s distance runner, the win gave Dibaba her fifth career world title after winning the 5,000 in 2003, the 10,000 in 2007 and both at the 2005 worlds.
Long-time leader Hitomi Niiya of Japan bravely pushed the pace in what was a futile attempt to drop the African race favourites as lightning flashed over the Luzhniki stadium and heavy rain began to fall.
Her Herculean efforts had whittled the leading group down to five at the bell, but Niiya was no match for Dibaba who simply lengthened her flowing stride to leave the rest trailing.
A personal best of 30:56.70 was Niiya’s only reward for her exertions as she finished a distant fifth.
Kenya’s world champion from Daegu in 2011 Vivian Cheruiyot did not defend her title as she is on maternity leave.
Still only 27, Dibaba has been dominant force in distance running since becoming the youngest individual world champion at the age of 17 in 2003.
She took the 10,000 at the 2012 London Games for her third Olympic title.
Her supremacy may yet extend to the marathon as she plans to make her eagerly awaited debut over the 42.195-km distance in London next year after being forced to pull out of this year’s race with a shin injury.
(Editing by Martyn Herman)