Defar's late dash denies double to Dibaba
The Olympic Stadium
Saturday 11 August 2012
Another night of Olympic finals on the track; another legend? Not quite. Like the 6ft 5in Usain Bolt in the men's 200m final the night before, the 5ft 1in Tirunesh Dibaba came into the home straight for the final time in the women's 5,000m final last night in the lead and within sight of becoming an all-time giant of track and field.
It was not to be. Unlike the towering Lightning Bolt, the diminutive Ethiopian who goes by the name of "the baby faced assassin" was unable to complete a back-to-back Olympic double.
Like Bolt, Dibaba struck gold twice in individual events in Beijing four years ago, becoming the first woman to win the 5,000m and 10,000m. Eight days ago the 26-year-old mounted a successful defence of her 10,000m crown, surging clear of the opposition in the opening track final. Last night, though, she came up short.
Content to sit back in the pack in the dawdling opening stages, Dibaba hit the front with four laps remaining and attempted to wind up the pace by degrees. She was still in front around the final turn, but only just.
Meseret Defar, her compatriot, was looming at her shoulder and ready to pounce. Some 90m from the line, Defar cut loose, sprinting home in 15min 04.25sec and completing a double of her own. The 28-year-old had won the title in Athens back in 2004. The dispirited Dibaba dropped to the bronze medal slot, clocking 15:05.15. Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot surged past to take the consolation of silver in 15:04.73. Last year she won the 5,000m and 10,000m at the World Championships in Daegu in the absence of the injured Dibaba.
For Dibaba – a cousin of Deratu Tulu, the first black African woman to win an Olympic title when she took 10,000m gold in Barcelona in 1992 – it was a first defeat in a track race since September 2009. "I'm not very pleased," she said. "I gave it a good shot. I wasn't aiming for bronze."
Defar, in contrast, was overjoyed. "It's a great day for me," she said. "I've been hoping for this day for a long time. This means a lot to me."
The two Britons in the field acquitted themselves admirably. The 38-year-old Jo Pavey finished seventh in 15:12.72. Julia Bleasdale, her junior by eight years, followed her across the line, eighth in 15:14:44.
Arsenal transfer news: Atletico Madrid closing in on Santi Cazorla - reports
Arturo Vidal: Manchester United bid £39m for Juventus midfielder
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger set to cancel moves for Sami Khedira and Morgan Schneiderlin in favour of Jack Wilshere - reports
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal
LA Galaxy vs Manchester United: 'Beautiful goals and beautiful attacks' - Louis van Gaal revels in 'fantastic' 7-0 start
- 1 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 50 books for students to read this summer: From Ernest Hemingway to Gillian Flynn
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Israel has discovered that it's no longer so easy to get away with murder in the age of social media
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia