London Marathon 2014: Mo Farah's debut topped by brilliant Tirunesh Dibaba
The smiling, cherubic assassin of the track is so revered in her native Ethiopia, there is a hospital named after her
Thursday 10 April 2014
The fanfare over Mo Farah's first marathon has been so loud that a more globally celebrated athlete's debut at the London Marathon has fallen well under the radar.
The prospect of Tirunesh Dibaba, the smiling, cherubic assassin of the track, is arguably more mouth-watering from a global perspective.
The 28-year-old boasts the 5,000m world record, five world titles and five Olympic medals, three of them gold. So revered is she back in her native Ethiopia, there is a hospital named after her.
Her marathon debut has been long-awaited. She tried a year ago, but was forced to pull out with a leg injury. Through a translator, she said: "I was about to come last year but the plane was delayed by one year! The marathon is new to me but I've intensively trained and I am ready."
She produced a scintillating burst of speed to win Olympic 10,000m gold, but knows stamina is key now.
"It's difficult to change from one race to another race," she said. "I have done my best. It was my aspiration to come to London and try my best."
Dibaba's younger sister Genzebe broke three world records in 15 days earlier this year, while her older sibling Ejegayehe was an Olympic silver medallist in 2004. Then there is her aunt, the two-time Olympic champion over 10,000m Derartu Tulu.
Dibaba comes from Bekoji, in the Ethiopian highlands, the same region as Kenenisa Bekele, who won the Paris Marathon last week, and Tiki Gelana, the Olympic marathon champion who also runs on Sunday.
Like Farah in the men's race, for the past five months she has turned her attention solely to marathon running, training with the men's pacemaker Haile Gebrselassie.
"Haile has shared his great experience with me and I am very grateful," she said before adding that such words of wisdom would remain a secret.
Latest in Sport
Anthony Martial transfer: Martial arts not in doubt but £36m is huge gamble by Manchester United
Tokyo 2020 Olympics logo scrapped amid fears of plagiarism
Arjen Robben to Manchester United: Bayern Munich winger linked with Old Trafford, but deal highly unlikely
Arsenal transfer news: Gunners fans devastated as they become only team in top 5 European leagues not to sign outfield player
David De Gea: Manchester United goalkeeper's £29m move to Real Madrid off - because paperwork 'not done in time'
- 1 If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
- 2 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 3 Idris Elba is ‘too street’ to play 007, says James Bond author
- 4 Pansexual: What is it - and when did the term gain popularity?
- 5 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
UN investigating British Government over human rights abuses caused by IDS welfare reforms
£26000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is a rapidly expandi...
£20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is a rapidly expandi...
£20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in London, Manches...
£30000 - £250000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Stock Broker/ Trainee FX, Stoc...