Two of Ethiopia’s biggest athletics stars will attempt a long-distance double at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow on 10-18 August.
Three-time Olympic gold medallist Tirunesh Dibaba and double Olympic champion Meseret Defar have both been selected in the 5000m and 10,000m. Dibaba won gold in both events at the 2005 World Championships and the 2008 Olympic Games, but her attempt at the same double at last year’s Olympic Games was ruined by Defar, who triumphed in the 5000m.
Defar has attempted distance doubles at the past two World Championships, but neither bid went to plan. She took 5000m bronze on both occasions, but finished fifth in the 10,000m in 2009 and did not finish the 25-lap event in 2011.
This year, however, Defar is in much better form and leads the world season list for 10,000m with 30:08.06, and has clocked her fastest 5000m performance since 2008 with her 14:26.90 victory at Oslo.
Dibaba – whose sister Genzebe is entered in the 1500m – has missed the past two editions of the World Championships, but also heads to Moscow in top form, having posted a world-leading 14:23.68 in the 5000m in Paris.
The pair have raced against each other just four times since 2006, their last encounter being the 2012 Olympic 5000m final where Defar was victorious.
The Ethiopian entrants on the men’s side are just as strong. World junior cross-country champion Hagos Gebrhiwet and Olympic finalist Yenew Alamirew are entered for the 5000m, while World indoor champion Mohammed Aman will be a serious contender for gold in the 800m, having won his past seven races.
Olympic 5000m silver medallist Dejen Gebremeskel will step up in distance to the 10,000m, having clocked a world-leading 26:51.02 on his debut at the distance earlier this year. He will be joined in that event by reigning World champion Ibrahim Jeilan.
Ethiopia’s marathon runners will also be out in full force in Moscow. World leader Lelisa Desisa, London Marathon winner Tsegaye Kebede and 2011 World bronze medallist Feyisa Lelisa are among the men’s entrants, while the women’s team is led by Olympic champion Tiki Gelana, 2013 Paris winner Feysa Tadese and World Half-marathon champion Meseret Hailu.
Five-time World Championships gold medallist Kenenisa Bekele is a reserve for the 10,000m. Other reserves named are Zebene Alemayehu in the men’s 1500m, Yigrem Demelash in the men’s 5000m, Buze Diriba in the women’s 5000m and Ababil Yeshanew in the women’s 10,000m.
ETHIOPIAN TEAM FOR MOSCOW
800m: Mohammed Aman, Aman Wote
1500m: Abiyot Abinet, Mekonnen Gebremedhin, Wote
5000m: Yenew Alamirew, Muktar Edris, Hagos Gebrhiwet
10,000m: Dejen Gebremeskel, Ibrahim Jeilan, Abera Kuma, Imane Merga
Marathon: Tsegaye Kebede, Lelisa Desisa, Feyisa Lelisa, Tadese Tola, Tilahun Regasa
3000m Steeplechase: Roba Gari, Habtamu Jaleta
800m: Fantu Magiso
1500m: Gelete Burka, Genzebe Dibaba, Senbira Teferi
5000m: Almaz Ayana, Meseret Defar, Tirunesh Dibaba
10,000m: Defar, Dibaba, Belaynesh Oljira
Marathon: Tiki Gelana, Meseret Hailu, Meselech Melkamu, Merima Mohamed, Feysa Tadese
3000m Steeplechase: Sofia Assefa, Hiwot Ayalew, Etenesh Diro