General News Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Dibaba sisters, defending champion Merga in Ethiopia’s provisional Bydogszcz squad

Imane Merga of Ethiopia crosses the finish line to win the men's senior race in Punta Umbria (Getty Images)Imane Merga of Ethiopia crosses the finish line to win the men's senior race in Punta Umbria (Getty Images) © Copyright

Defending IAAF World Cross Country champion Imane Merga, four-time World Cross Country Championships gold medallist Tirunesh Dibaba, and two-time junior women’s winner Genzebe Dibaba have been included in Ethiopia’s provisional squad for the 2013 World Cross Country Championships in Bydogszcz, Poland, on 24 March.

Merga, who dropped out of the men’s 12km race during the Ethiopian trials on Sunday, is aiming to retain the title he won two years ago in Punta Umbria, Spain. He is joined in the provisional squad by London 2012 Olympic games 10000m bronze medallist Tariku Bekele.

Ethiopia’s hopes of clinching its first senior women’s title since 2008 is boasted by the call-up of three-time Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba as she returns to cross-country running for the first time since she finished fourth in the 2010 edition of the event, coincidently also held in Bydogscz.

Dibaba, the London 2012 Olympic 10,000m champion opened 2013 with a solitary, but solid, Two Miles indoor win at the IAAF Indoor Permit meeting in Boston earlier this month.

She is joined in Ethiopia’s line-up by her sister Genzebe Dibaba, back to form in 2013 after falling and dropping out of the Olympic Games women’s 1500m heats.

She won her only cross-country outing in Edinburgh last month. Solo indoor 1500m victories in Karlsruhe and Birmingham, as well as a 3000m world-leading time in Stockholm last Thursday, mean that she is undefeated so far this year, although she has initially only been named as a reserve for the team.

The junior teams includes Hagos Gebrhiwet, who set a World junior indoor record over 3000m earlier this month, and the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships 5000m gold medallists Muktar Edris and Buze Diriba.

Elshadai Negash for the IAAF

Ethiopia’s provisional squad for Bydogszcz

Senior men’s 12km
Feyisa Lilesa
Mosinet Geremew
Abera Chane
Imane Merga
Tariku Bekele
Mekashaw Eshete
Yenew Alamirew (reserve)
Berhanu Diro (reserve)

Senior women’s 8km
Hiwot Ayalew
Genet Yalew
Yebrqual Melese
Meselech Melkamu
Belaynesh Oljira
Tirunesh Dibaba
Sule Utura (reserve)
Genzebe Dibaba (reserve)

Junior men’s 8km
Hagos Gebrhiwet
Birhan Nbaw
Bonsa Dida
Tsegaye Hluf
Muktar Edris
Yigrem Demelash
Yhunlign Adane (reserve)
Hailu Mamo (reserve)

Junior women’s 6km
Alemitu Haroye
Buze Diriba
Alemitu Hawi
Ruti Aga
Sofia Shemsu
Gotytom Gebreslase
Mihret Tefera (reserve)
Hirut Alemayehu (reserve)