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Majestic Dibaba storms to 10,000 gold

By on August 4, 2012

Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba’s rocket-propelled final lap lit up the first day of track and field in the Olympic stadium on Friday, burning off her rivals in style to retain her 10,000 metres crown.

Dibaba, 26, swept to glory in 30 minutes, 20.75 seconds, helped by a phenomenal final 400 which left her rivals trailing in her wake.

The race had been expected to provide fireworks between Dibaba, dogged by leg problems since winning the 5,000 and 10,000 double in Beijing, and Kenya’s double world champion Vivian Cheruiyot.

The imperious Dibaba was in no mood for a dogfight though, bursting clear at the bell with a surge of acceleration that Cheruiyot, who has played second-fiddle to Dibaba for most of her career, had no answer to.

“I have never been happier like today,” Dibaba told reporters. “It is very special. I have worked hard for this.”

Known as the “baby-faced destroyer”, Dibaba lived up to her nickname by quickly putting distance between herself and chasing duo Sally Kipyego and Cheruiyot, who will now seek revenge in the 5,000.

Kipyego took silver in 30:26.37 with Cheruiyot, never in a position to utilise her feared finishing kick, coming home third in 30:30.44.

Dibaba, the first to win back to back titles over the distance, emulated her cousin Derartu Tulu (1992 and 2000) to become the second woman to win two Olympic golds in the 10,000.

Draped in an Ethiopian flag, she celebrated with a lap of the track alongside team mates Werknesh Kidane (fourth) and Beleynesh Oljira (fifth).

“I did not think I was going to make it to the Olympics,” said Dibaba, who has suffered a series of injury-hit seasons because of recurring shin splints and a toe injury and had run only a handful of races at the distance since her Beijing triumph.


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