The rise and rise of Genzebe Dibaba

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A world indoor 1500m record on February 1 followed by more of the same over 3000m on February 6 and a two mile world indoor best nine days later. Genzebe Dibaba has had a remarkable indoor season so far and having just been confirmed for the 3000m at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland, next month, fans wait with bated breath to see what else the 23-year-old is capable of.

Dibaba first made her mark on the international scene in Edinburgh in 2008. There, in the city’s Holyrood Park, the Ethiopian won the world junior cross-country title in a race that saw Charlotte Purdue finish 53 seconds behind the winner as leading Briton in 16th place.

It was a successful day for Ethiopia, with Genzebe’s older sister, Tirunesh, winning the senior women’s race, while the senior men’s title went to Kenenisa Bekele and the junior men’s victory to Ibrahim Jeilan. Given this, the “Dibaba double” was one of the big stories of the championships and it looked likely that a Dibaba dynasty of distance-running dominance was set to continue.

Certainly, the Dibaba family is amazingly talented. Tirunesh has won three Olympic and five world gold medals on the track, plus five individual world cross country titles – and she is set to make her much-anticipated marathon debut in London in April.

In addition, the eldest sister in the family, Ejegayehu, won Olympic 10,000m silver in Athens in 2004, while their brother Dejene is a promising 800m athlete. If that wasn’t enough, cousin Derartu Tulu is a two-time Olympic 10,000m champion.

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