© Copyright – 2014 – Athletics Illustrated

Ethiopian middle and long distance runner, Genzebe Dibaba will be competing in the 3000 metre event during the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Track and Field Championships. The meet will be taking place in Sopot, Poland from March 7 to the 9th. Dibaba is favoured to win the gold medal as she recently broke the world indoor record on February 6, 2014 by racing to the time of 8:16.60 in Stockholm, Sweden. This represents an incredible 7.12 seconds faster than the previous record, held by fellow Ethiopian Meseret Defar. Defar accomplish the record seven years ago on February 3rd, 2007 in Stuttgart, Germany.  The twenty-three-year-old Dibaba may take down all of the suspect 3000 metre record times that took place in Beijing, China over one mysterious weekend in 1993.

On September 13, 1993 in Beijing, Wang Junxia magically ran an outdoor 3000 metre race in the time of 8:06:11, which is 6.07 seconds faster than the second fastest time in history, which was accomplished by Qu Yunxia, 6.07 later. She was followed in by Zhang Linli, who finished in 8:16.50. The day before, countrywoman, Ma Liyan raced to an 8:19.78 finish time, from that same track. These are the four fastest times in history, all from that fateful weekend. There was one other suspect time, run by Zhang Lirong in 8:21.84 owning the seventh fastest time in history. All athletes were coached by Ma Junren.

Later that year in August, Junren-coached athletes stunned competitors by sweeping world titles in distances from 1500 metres through to the 10,000 metres in Stuttgart, Germany. Junxia, in less than a month, went onto to win the 3000 metre and 10000 metre races in the Chinese National Games accomplishing three world records in three races. Junxia ended up running the 10000 metres as fast as 29:31.78, at the time that result represented a 42 second improvement over the previous world record; it stands today.

Although the 3000 metre distance is considered a middle-distance race, like the 800 and 1500 metres, the 3000 is run at a pace that is more closely related to the 5000 metre event.  For example, the world record for the 3000 is run around 66/67 seconds per 400 metre lap (by women), which is much closer to the 69/70 seconds for 5000 metres, whereas the 1500 metres is run at around 60 seconds per lap. Saying this, perhaps Dibaba can also take down her older sister’s 5000 metre world record from 2008, where Tirunesh ran 14:11.15 in Oslo, Norway.

Providing she doesn’t get caught up in running a tactical race, the younger Dibaba is likely to break the world record further during the world indoor championships,while on her way to winning the gold medal. Her excellent times so far surpass both Junxia and her older sister at the same age. A further improvement on her current 3000 metre indoor time of 8:16.60 will point towards a likelihood of lowering subsequent world records in distances up to 10000 metres. Meanwhile, Tirunesh Dibaba will tackle the marathon distance during 2014.

Tirunesh Dibaba Genzebe Dibaba Wang Junxia
1500 03:57.54 1500 03:51.92
3000 08:29.55 1500 03:55.17 Ind. 3000 08:06.11 WR
3000 08:33.37 Ind. 3000 08:37.00
5000 14:11.15 WR 3000 08:16.60 Ind/WR
5000 14:27.42 Ind. 5000 14:37.56 5000 14:51.87
10000 29:54.66 NR 10000 29:31.78 WR

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