Tirunesh Dibaba wins in Tilburg with 4th fastest 10km in history
September 2, 2013

Just three days after her loss to rival Meseret Defar over 5000m in Zurich, World and Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba took to the roads in Tilburg on Sunday (1) in search of a World record.

The Ethiopian fell short of her target, but only just. Her winning time of 30:30 was the fourth-fastest performance in history for 10km. It also broke her own national record from earlier this year as she ran 19 seconds faster than she did in Manchester back in May.

In just her third ever race over the distance on the roads, Dibaba covered the first half in 15:21, which left her with a lot of ground to make up in the second half if she was to challenge Paula Radcliffe’s World record of 30:21 set more than a decade ago.

By this point, the 27-year-old was 21 seconds ahead of her nearest challenger, fellow Ethiopian Genet Yalew, the 2011 World cross-country junior silver medallist. Kenya’s Esther Chemtai was just one second adrift of Yalew in third place.

Despite covering the second 5km section in 15:09, Dibaba had left herself with too much work to do in her World record bid and crossed the line in 30:30 – a time that only three other women in history have bettered.

Dibaba’s winning time also took a 27-second chunk off the course record, set last year by Gladys Cherono, the Kenyan who finished second to Dibaba in the 10,000m at this year’s World Championships.

Chemtai overtook Yalew to finish second, but was more than one-and-a-half minutes behind Dibaba, finishing in 32:06 with Yalew clocking 32:09.

Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF

Kenenisa considers marathon as his future race: AFP

Ethiopian track legend Kenenisa Bekele said Sunday he was still a long way off from thinking of retirement and is instead eyeing a step up to the marathon in time for the Rio Olympics.

Speaking to AFP at his training camp outside of the capital Addis Ababa, the world record holder in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres said he hoped to display a return to form when he races Britain's Mo Farah and fellow Ethiopian great Haile Gebreselassie this month.

The three will be competing in the Great North Run in England on September 16, which organisers say will be the "greatest head-to-head in half-marathon history."

"I did great things in 5,000 and 10,000 metres and now after those races, my big goal is to run a good marathon and a good half marathon, to attack maybe the world record," said Bekele.

"My big hope is to compete in Rio," said the 31-year old.

Bekele won gold in the 10,000 metres in Athens, and followed up with the 5,000m and 10,000m double in Beijing in 2008.

But since then he has been beset by injury, finishing 4th in the London Olympics and missing out on the Moscow World Championships.

He has also been overshadowed by the rise of Britain's Farah.

Still, Bekele's rivals have yet to get within even spitting distance of his world records, set in 2004 and 2005.

"I'm challenging my injury to come back again to fitness, to compete in international races... I don't want to stop at this early age, so I think I will come back again," he said.

Bekele, a national hero in Ethiopia, said the half marathon showdown -- his first competitive outing over the distance -- will be a tough race and will live up to the organisers' billing as a "dream team" showdown.

His stubborn injury, not mention Farah's staggering finishing kick and Gerbselassie's years of road racing experience, will make for a challenging 21.1 kilometre (13.1 mile) race, he said.

"I will try my best, but of course the race is not easy because I'm competing with Mo Farrah and Gebreselassie and this race it will be my first half marathon," said Bekele, speaking after a morning session on his private track.

Farah, the reigning 5,000m and 10,000m Olympic and world champion, has raced two half marathons, winning both times, while Gerbselassie is by far the most experienced -- having been world champion at the distance four times between 1993 and 1999 and having won the Newcastle to South Shields race three years ago.

He held the marathon world record and has a personal half marathon best of 58min 55secs.

But Bekele said he is running twice a day, seven days a week and feels ready to take on those he described as his greatest competitors.

"I'm feeling good, I'm preparing to compete," he said.

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