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Dibaba considering pulling out of 5,000 due to cramp in side

Dibaba considering pulling out of 5,000 due to cramp in side

A lingering cramp in her side may keep Tirunesh Dibaba from attempting to win a third consecutive 5,000 meters title at the world track and field championships.
Dibaba is expected to make a final decision by late Tuesday, the eve of the 5,000 heats. Dibaba was bothered by the cramp in her win in the 10,000 on Saturday night.
The Ethiopian runner is going for her second straight double in the world championships, having captured both the 5,000 and 10,000 titles at Helsinki in 2005.
When she won the 5,000 at Paris in 2003, she became the youngest winner of an individual world championships title.
"I decided to run the 5,000 and 10,000 initially, but this incident (cramp) has come up and if I decide not to run the 5,000, I'll be very sad," Dibaba said through a translator.
The 5,000 is one of the most anticipated races of the championships because of Dibaba's strong rivalry with fellow Ethiopian Meseret Defar, who is the world record holder.
Defar is hopeful Dibaba competes, but said the field is still stacked if she withdraws. The Ethiopians also have Gelete Burka and Meselech Melkamu competing.
"It's not going to be that easy," Defar said. "If Tirunesh is in the competition, it makes it even tougher."
Dibaba insisted at a news conference Tuesday that the two are friends, contrary to rumors.
Defar cost Dibaba a lot of money last season. Defar won the final Golden League race in Berlin, denying Dibaba, who'd won the previous five races in the series, a slice of the US$1 million jackpot.
Dibaba said there's no bitter feelings.
"It has passed," she said. "I don't think about that anymore."
Said Defar: "I was going for the athlete of the year and best performance of the year. That was my aim. That's passed. We're focusing on the future."
Dibaba has been bothered off and on by the cramp over the last year. Ethiopian team officials are trying to figure out a reason for it, even putting her on muscle relaxants.
The team thought they had the cramp figured out until Saturday night. But it caused her so much pain in the 10,000 that she clutched at her stomach as she ran. When a midrace collision dropped her way behind the lead pack, Dibaba thought about dropping out.
But she fought through the pain, passed the field and then flew by leader Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey on the final lap to win in 31 minutes, 55.41 seconds.
"It was probably one of the most valuable golds I've ever won," Dibaba said. "I went through a lot to win that gold."