Tirunesh Dibaba

Tirunesh Dibaba

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Tirunesh Dibaba
Event long distance
Nationality Ethiopian
Born June 1, 1985 at Arsi, Ethiopia

Tirunesh Dibaba also known as Tirunesh Dibaba Kenene (born June 1, 1985 in Arsi, Ethiopia) is an Ethiopian long distance track athlete and both the outdoor[1] and indoor 5000 metres world record holder. She is the current Olympic 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres champion. She has also won four world track titles and five world cross country titles.

Born in the village of Chefe, Tirunesh was the 4th of 6 children and was raised in the high-altitude Arsi Zone of the Oromia Region. She began doing athletics at the age of 14. She moved to the capital Addis Ababa in 2000.

Tirunesh is part of an athletic family, with older sister Ejegayehu also making her mark on the international stage and brother Dejene marked as a future star. Their sister Genzebe won the junior race at the 2008 World Cross Country Championships.[2] 1992 and 2000 Olympic champion Derartu Tulu is also their cousin.


International Performances

Tirunesh's first fully-international outdoor track event was the 2001 IAAF World Cross Country Championships. Running at the age of 15 in women's junior race, she finished 5th.

Tirunesh's most prestigious performances so far have come in the world championships athletics events of 2003, 2005 and 2007. In 2003, Tirunesh won the 5,000 m in a sprint finish against Marta Dominguez of Spain and Edith Masai of Kenya. At the 2005 championships, Tirunesh produced a blistering finish to out-sprint compatriot Berhane Adere and her own sister Ejegayehu and also became the first woman to win the 10,000/5000 m double at the same champinships. In 2007, when the championships were held in Osaka, Tirunesh again utilised her sprint finish to overhaul Turkey's Elvan Abeylegesse, thus becoming the only woman to win back-to-back 10,000 m titles. In Osaka, Tirunesh won with a time of 31:55.41.

At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Tirunesh was beaten into third place by Meseret Defar of Ethiopia and Isabella Ochichi of Kenya. The result was considered by some to be a disappointment but at 19, she still became the youngest ever medalist for Ethiopia at the Olympics.

In 2006 she won five out of six Golden League events (5,000 m) in the same season, which earned her a total of $83,333.

A major feature of Tirunesh's running style is an incredible sprint finish. During the final lap of the 10,000 m in 2005, Tirunesh was clocked over the closing 400 m in 58.33 seconds. Tirunesh is known for not taking the lead in a race until the final lap.

Tirunesh is also a remarkably successful cross country runner; she has four IAAF World Cross Country Championships victories, including one junior title (Lausanne, 2003), one short course title (Saint-Galmier, 2005), and two long course titles (Saint-Galmier, 2005, and Fukuoka, 2006). From 2007, there was just one race in each category. Dibaba won the silver in the women's race at Mombasa in 2007 and the gold at Edinburgh in 2008.

Dibaba created a new 5000 metres world record, 14 minutes 11.15 seconds, at the Oslo Golden League 2008 track meet.[1]

Tirunesh Dibaba won 10,000 metres Gold in Beijing Olympic on August 15, 2008 setting a new Olympic record time of 29:54.66 which was enough to break the old record of 30:17.49 set by fellow Ethiopian and cousin Derartu Tulu at Sydney Olympic Summer Games back in 2000. The new Olympic record was also the second fastest 10,000 meters of all time and an African record too. The previous African record (30:04.18) was held by Berhane Adere, set at the 2003 World Championships. One week later on August 22, 2008 she won the 5,000 metres by beating the defending gold medalist Meseret Defar. Dibaba finished the race in 15:41.40 which was way far from her current world record. This olympic double win made her the first ever woman to win both 5,000 and 10,000 metres at the same Olympics.

Video Interview


Personal Life

Tirunesh is engaged to 2004 Olympic 10,000 meter silver medallist Sileshi Sihine.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "News Flash – 14:11.15 - Dibaba smashes World 5000m record in Oslo! - ÅF Golden League 2008" at IAAF.org
  2. Dibaba sisters make it a family affair – Edinburgh 2008. IAAF.org. 30 March 2008

External links