23 MAY 2008 General News 23 May 2008 – Oslo, Norway

Dibaba targeting 5000m World record in Oslo - ÅF Golden League

Tirunesh Dibaba wins the women's 10,000m final in Osaka (Getty Images)Tirunesh Dibaba wins the women's 10,000m final in Osaka (Getty Images) © Copyright

Oslo, NorwayEthiopia’s four time World champion Tirunesh Dibaba is determined to take the women’s 5000m World record at the Exxon Mobil Bislett Games in Oslo on 6 June, the second stop of the six-meeting ÅF Golden League.

Dibaba, one of Ethiopia’s most successful athletes, has been pinpointing her preparation on the 5000m event at Oslo for most of the winter months. The lure of the almost perfect climatic setting that Oslo provides, has made the race a most important focus in Dibaba’s Olympic year.

Last year her Ethiopian teammate Meseret Defar took advantage of legendary conditions that Bislett stadium offers and smashed the World record with an amazing 14:16.63 performance, one that sliced almost eight seconds off her previous world record. It was of course just another World record to add to the many that have been achieved on Oslo’s famous "World Record Track"... Bislett .

Dibaba is delighted that an Ethiopian currently holds the 5000m record, but now she wants to make it her exclusive “private property” and has never been more serious about a record attempt in her highly successful career. 

Athlete manager at the Exxon Mobil Bislett Games, Steinar Hoen has responded to Dibaba’s intentions by providing pace makers who can hopefully take the Ethiopian champion through at a suitable lap tempo that would give Dibaba a chance at her first outdoor track world record.

Russian indoor Champion at 5000m, Elena Zadorozhnaya, who has a personal best of 14:40.47 for 5000m and Kenya’s Irene Kwambai have been specifically sought by Hoen to set a World record pace for the first six or seven laps.

Dibaba has won Olympic and World titles but has yet to taste the sweet success of an outdoor track World Record. But that may all change in Oslo, a little after 9 pm on the evening of 6 June when the women’s 5000m race is completed.

Oslo promises Beijing men’s Long Jump Preview

Meanwhile on the infield, one of the highest quality fields ever assembled will contest the ÅF Golden League Long Jump. The contest will not only provide a relfection on last year’s epic competition at the World Championships in Osaka, but a sneak preview of the event at this year’s Olympic Games. And a run for the $1 million ÅF Golden League Jackpot.

The tension was almost unbearable is Osaka when Panama’s Irving Saladino’s last jump of the competition saw him wrestle the gold medal from Italy’s Andrew Howe. Their splendid rivalry will continue in Bislett Stadium. However the struggle for supremacy is not just about these two illustrious competitors.

World Champion Saladino and European champion Howe will face a group of very well prepared and talented long jumpers in a field that includes the top five finishers from last year’s World Championships , led by USA’s defending Olympic Champion Dwight Phillips.

Phillips is truly among the outstanding Long Jump competitors of the century, having won two World crowns and the 2004 Olympic title. Last year, Phillips was third in that classic final in Osaka . He boasts a significant personal best of 8.60m and recently showed that his defence of his Olympic title was on course with an early season leap of 8.25m.

South African prodigy Godfrey Mokoena recently won the World Indoor title in Valencia and showed with a wind-legal performance of 8.25m that he is ready to re-evaluate his personal best, which currently stands at 8.39m.

Two of USA’s finest current jumpers, Brian Johnson and Miguel Pate, will also be in Oslo to challenge for the Golden League bullion. Johnson’s early spring form has been outstanding with a legal jump of 8.30m plus some windy efforts in the 8.40’s. Pate is always a threat in any competition, his personal best of 8.46m is intimidating and as usual, he will be perfectly prepared for this competition.

World Championships fourth place finisher Olexiy Lukashevych (Ukraine) is undoubtedly a contender for higher honours as well.

Maurie Plant for the IAAF