Carrying a name like Dibaba, it seemed to be just a matter of time before 21-year-old Genzebe would collect her first world senior title. And she delivered in style tonight after leading nearly every moment of the race to become the fourth Ethiopian world indoor 1500 champion in the last five editions of these Championships.
Her 4:05.78 winning time wasn't the fastest in the the history of these championships, nor was it the slowest. It was indicative though of Dibaba's growing experience and her ability to control a race in the way she she's fit. Beginning with a dawdling 36 seconds for the first 200 metres, she was just a step behind teammate Tizita Bogale at 400m, reached in just over 71 seconds.
She then gradually picked up the pace but never relinquished the lead. Even when the runners behind her fought for position, Dibaba, taking a page out of older sister Tirunesh's book, forged on alone to win by nearly two seconds.
"This is the first major victory in my career and the first gold for Ethiopia here," said Dibaba, whose medal will join the pair of World junior Cross Country and World junior 5000m medals of the same color she has in her collection. "I am extremely happy."
The lone challenge - it turned out to be a fleeting one - came with about 700 metres remaining, when Mariem Selsouli passed Bogale and moved into second, and appeared to have more in the tank. But it wasn't to be.
"I was concerned about the Moroccan as I ran alone in the final stages," Dibaba said. This is my style of running. It was tough, but I am happy to start the Olympic year with this world title."
Selsouli held on for second in 4:07.78, the first medal of the championships for Morocco as well. "I've succeeded today," Selsouli said, "and hope to keep going like that for the Olympic Games this summer."
But what brought the crowd to their feet was Asli Cakir Alptekin's run over the final 400 metros. Moving past Bogale, she briefly looked reedy to challenge for silver, but her bronze, collected with a 4:08.74 national record, was nearly as good as gold.
"I am very delighted since this is a historical win for Turkey," Alptekin told the frenzied crowd. "My target was to be in the final and winning a medal is a big surprise. I felt the energy and the power from the audience. It made me believe that I could have medal."
Behind them, Natallia Kareiva of Belarus was fourth and Frenchwoman Hind Dehiba fifth, clocking 4:10.12 and 4:10.30 respectively, while Bogale faded to sixth.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF