Such has been the supremacy of Genzebe Dibaba in recent years that her races have developed a sense of inevitability, one that – despite the presence of four-time world indoor champion Meseret Defar in Portland – appears to be the case ahead of the women’s 3000m final on Sunday afternoon.
Dibaba has been in ruthless form this indoor season, setting a world indoor record for the mile in Stockholm on her first outing, her time of 4:13.31 taking four seconds off the previous mark set by Romania’s Doine Melinte in 1990. Just two days later in Sabadell, she clocked 8:22.50 for 3000m, a time that leads the 2016 world list by eight seconds.
The problem for her rivals is that there is essentially no flaw in her armoury, that she can kick faster than anyone in the field and hold pace with whoever dares to run away from her early in the race.
The most likely one to challenge her is teammate Defar, who won this title on four occasions between 2004 and 2010 and was impressive on her sole outing this year when running 8:30.83 to win in Boston.
Shannon Rowbury, however, looks capable of interrupting an Ethiopian 1-2. The 31-year-old produced a 61-second last 400m to ease her way to the US title in Portland last Friday night, and has chosen to reject her usual distance of 1500m as she believes she stands a better chance of reaching the podium at 3000m.
“I’ve been doing a lot of strength work this winter and in recent weeks I’ve done some speed, so I’ve given myself a lot of tools,” said Rowbury last weekend. “It’s now a case of seeing how they stack up against the best in the world.”
Of the rest, Kenya’s Nancy Chepkwemoi and Betsy Saina, along with Poland’s Renata Plis, appear to hold the best chances.
Gelete Burka, who finished a distant second to Dibaba in Sabadell in 8:33.76, is entered as Ethiopia's reserve.
Cathal Dennehy for the IAAF