The highly publicized 3000m duel between a trio of gold medalists from the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 was supposed to be one of the highlights of the 2015 IAAF Diamond League final in Zurich and so it proved, with Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana coming out on top on Thursday (Sep. 3rd).
Almaz Ayana and her compatriot Genzebe Dibaba, respectively the 5000m and 1500m world champions in Beijing, were helped initially by the Kenyan pacemaker Lydia Wafula, who took the pair through 1000m in 2:49.92, putting them nicely on course for a fast time below 8:30.
Poland’s Renata Plis then took over but the two Ethiopians wanted a faster pace than she could deliver and so, with just over three laps to go, Ayana went to the front, towing Dibaba behind her as she passed 2000m in 5:35.36.
With two laps to go, the gap between the two Ethiopians and the rest of the field had grown to about 80 metres.
Many pundits in the stands were assuming that Dibaba was just biding her time before pouncing on Ayana, but the latter has clearly grown in confidence after her world title and had other ideas.
Ayana started to pull away from her great domestic rival with 250 metres to go. Unlike in some other races in the past two years, Dibaba couldn’t respond and it was Ayana who took the honours and crossed the line in 8:22.34, a meeting record and just 0.12 outside her own national record.
Dibaba came home second in 8:26.54 but had the consolation of taking the Diamond Race and the US $40,000 winner-takes-all cheque that goes with it.
Kenya’s world 10,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot admitted the day before that the distance may be too short for her, and the Ethiopians too quick, and this turned out to be the case as she finished sixth in 8:38.91.
- Almaz Ayana Leads Ethiopian Medal Sweep at World Athletics Championships
- Almaz Ayana: ‘I’m Ready for the World Record’ – IAAF Diamond League
- Dibaba and Ayana to Clash in Paris – IAAF Diamond League
- The Great Outdoors Beckon for Ethiopia’s Dibaba
- Genzebe Dibaba Sets African 1500m Record of 3:54.11 in Barcelona