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Tirunesh Dibaba

Tirunesh Dibaba

Tirunesh Dibaba was born in Chefa on 1st October 1985, Ethiopia. She is an Ethiopian champion in long distance athletic running. She is well known for her sprint finish at the end of her runs, when she commonly overtakes the leader.

Her father Dibaba Keneni and her mother Gutu Tola on. She was brought up in a town in the Oromiya region. Tirunesh was the third of five children.

Dibaba had a very normal childhood, and was born into a family of runners. Her sister is Ejegayehou Dibaba, and she had begun her running career a long time before Tirunesh first started running. Derartu Tulu is her cousin who has won two gold medals in the Olympics and  one 10,000 metre race. Bekelu Dibaba is also her cousin was also an achieving runner.

Tirunesh Dibaba never really showed signs of an interest in running when she was young. It was only when she moved to Addis Ababa to live with her cousin and sister that she started to take an interest. She had tried to get into a school in the capital, but unfortunately missed the deadline by less than a week, and she was naturally very upset by this.

She did not want to move back with her parents, so her cousin urged Turinesh to join the Prisons Police Sports Club, which she did. She did not get off to a good start as she was very young at the age of 14 and still quite weak, but she soon started to shine with a little practise.

At her first outdoor track she came in 5th place, at the 2001 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, and she also won the World Championships in 2003, 2005 and 2007. Later she became the youngest runner to win the gold medal in the World Championships  when she won the 5,000 metre race in 2003.

In 2005, Dibaba ran the final 400 metres of  10,000 metre race in 14:11.15, showing her amazingly fast finish. Dibaba went on in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics to win gold by coming first place, and she set a new record with her time on 29:54.66, taking it from her cousin who was the former holder of the record.

It was also the 2nd fastest ever run of the 10,000 metre distance. Just a week later, she ran in the Olympic 5,000 metre race where she won yet another gold medal for her efforts. Her two gold medals made her the first female runner ever to hold both the 10,000 and 5,000 metre distances.

The following year after the Olympics she was unable to run at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships due to an injury, but by the end of 2009 she was back in good health when she entered into the 15 kilometre in the Netherlands and broke another world record with a time of 46:28. With her double Olympic gold medals Dibaba is by far one of the greatest female runners of our time.

Her career was again beset by injuries and after 16 months out of competition, she returned at the 2011 New Year's Eve San Silvestre Vallecana and won by beating Gelete Burka in a sprint finish. She won the two-mile race at the Boston Indoor Grand Prix and took her second career win at the Carlsbad 5000 in March. In her first outdoor track race of the year, she won the 10,000 m at the Prefontaine Classic by holding off Florence Kiplagat at the line.

She won 10,000 metres gold on August 3rd in a time of 30:20.75, a season's best performance.

Career Highlights

  • 2012 London Summer Olympics – Gold, Bronze
  • 2008 Beijing Olympics – Gold (2)
  • 2004 Athens Olympic Games – Bronze
  • World Championships – Gold (2003,’05,’06,’08)

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