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Dibaba withdraws from 5,000, will not attempt distance double

Dibaba withdraws from 5,000, will not attempt distance double

Tirunesh Dibaba has decided against defending her distance double at the athletics world championships and withdrawn from the 5,000 meters.
The Ethiopian runner blamed lingering cramp in her side for preventing her from attempting to win a third consecutive 5,000 meters title.
Dibaba, who was bothered by the cramp in her win in the 10,000, made the announcement Tuesday, on the eve of the 5,000 heats.
She won both the 5,000 and 10,000 at the 2005 world championships in Helsinki and won the 5,000 two years before that at Paris.
The 5,000 was 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.
"I am confident that Meseret, Gelete (Burka) and Meselech (Melkamu) will run very well," said Dibaba, forecasting a win for Ethiopia despite her absence.
"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 told an earlier news conference.
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."
Dibaba insisted at the earlier news conference that she and Defar 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."


Updated : 2020-11-30 00:31 GMT+08:00