Defar outsprints Dibaba to regain 5,000 title

Monday, 13 August 2012 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: Ethiopia’s Meseret Defar sprinted past compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba on Friday to reclaim the Olympic women’s 5,000 metres title she won in 2004.

Dibaba, chasing an Olympic distance double-double after retaining her 10,000 title last week, had no response to Defar’s turn of speed and faded to third as Kenya’s world champion Vivian Cheruiyot overtook her before the line.

“It’s a great day for me. Since 2008, I have tried everything as I wasn’t able to win the Olympics,” Defar, the bronze medallist from Beijing, told reporters.

“I have won two Olympic medals before and this is my third. I’m not sure I can do a fourth so this means a lot to me,” added the 28-year-old.

Dibaba hit the front with four laps to go after a slow first half followed by Defar, Gelete Burka and the three Kenyans in the race who moved up on the outside.

The field started to string out as Dibaba began to test her rivals and at the bell, only Defar, Kenya’s Sally Kipyego and Cheruiyot had gone with her.

But victory over in the longer race a week ago appeared to have taken its toll as Dibaba’s usual searing final lap did not materialise and Defar remained on her shoulder ready to pounce on the home straight.

Defar crossed the line with her arms in the air before kissing a religious picture she had carried in her top and falling to the track weeping.