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Genzebe Dibaba

Genzebe Dibaba
Genzebe at the 2014 World Indoor Championships in Sopot.
Personal information
Nationality Ethiopian
Born (1991-02-08) 8 February 1991 [1]
Bekoji, Ethiopia[1]
Height 168 cm (5 ft 6 in)[1]
Weight 52 kg (115 lb)[1]
Sport Athletics
Event(s) 1500 m, 3000 m, 5000 m
Coached by Jama Aden
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 1500 m: 3:50:07 WR[2]
Indoor 1500 m: 3:55.17i WR[3]
3000 m: 8:26.21[3]
Indoor 3000 m: 8:16.60i WR[3]
Indoor 2-mile: 9:00.48i WR[3]
5000 m: 14:15.41[3]
Indoor 5000 m: 14:18.86i WR[3]

Genzebe Dibaba Keneni (Amharic: ገንዘቤ ዲባባ;[1] Afaan Oromo: Ganzabee Dibaabaa; born 8 February 1991) is an Ethiopian middle- and long-distance runner. She is the sister of three-times Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba and Olympic silver medallist Ejegayehu Dibaba, and the cousin of former Olympic champion Derartu Tulu.[4]

Subject to ratification, Genzebe is the current world record holder in the women's 1500 metres, running 3:50.07 at the Herculis meet in Monaco on July 17, 2015. At the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, she became World Champion in 1500 m as well as claiming the bronze medal in the 5000 m event.

She was the 2012 World Indoor Champion for the 1500 m and holds the World record for the distance, and is the reigning 2014 World Indoor Champion and World Indoor Record Holder in the 3000 m. She represented Ethiopia at the 2012 Summer Olympics and has twice competed at the World Championships in Athletics (2009 and 2011). She was highly successful as a junior (under-20) athlete, having won two junior world cross country titles and one world junior 5000 m gold medal.


Genzebe Dibaba comes from an athletic family. Her older sister Tirunesh is a celebrated athlete who won more than 19 major medals, including five in summer olympics. Another older sister, Ejegayehu, won the silver medal in the 10,000 metres at the 2004 Summer Olympics. And brother Dejene is also an athlete. Her cousin is 1992 and 2000 10000m Olympic champion Derartu Tulu.


Genzebe won the junior women's title at both the 2008[5] and 2009 IAAF World Cross Country Championships[6] and finished fifth in the same event in 2007. Genzebe became the second junior woman ever to win two junior cross country championships in a row. She also competed in IAAF Golden League meetings, including the Reebok Grand Prix and the Oslo Bislett Games. At the 2008 Bislett Games she recorded a personal best time of 15:02.41 in the 5000 metres, during the same race where her sister Tirunesh set a new world record.[7] She did the same a year later in the same race, improving her personal best by more than five seconds.


After winning the 5000 m at the Ethiopian Athletics Championships, she was included in the Ethiopian squad for the 2009 IAAF World Athletics Championships. In Berlin she replaced Tirunesh on Ethiopia's 5000 m team, who withdrew due to injury. Genzebe ran an excellent heat, finishing fourth and qualifying for the final where, in her first major senior championship race, she finished in eighth position. She also won the 5000 m gold at the 2009 African Junior Athletics Championships.

She began her 2009–10 cross country campaign with a win at the Cross de Atapuerca.[8] She also competed indoors, improving her 1500 m best to 4:04.80 at the Indoor Flanders meeting.[9] Despite her wins on the senior circuit, she failed to complete a hat-trick of junior race titles at the 2010 IAAF World Cross Country Championships. She performed far below expectations, ending up in eleventh and barely making it into the silver medal winning Ethiopian team.[10] Her fortunes improved at the 2010 World Junior Championships in Athletics as she defeated the junior cross country winner Mercy Cherono to take the 5000 m gold in a championship record time.[11] In November she took a second consecutive victory at the Cross de Atapueca, taking a prominent scalp in Emily Chebet (the reigning senior champion).[12]


She was the runner-up at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country in January 2011 behind Linet Masai.[13] She placed ninth at the 2011 IAAF World Cross Country Championships two months later.

Genzebe improved her 5000 m best to 14:37.56 minutes at the Bislett Games and went on to place eighth in the event at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics. After this point she began to move away from the 5000 m an focus on the 1500 metres instead – a move which paid significant dividends for her career. She began 2012 with the fifth fastest ever indoor 1500 m, winning the Weltklasse in Karlsruhe in 4:00.13 minutes.[14] A win at the Aviva Indoor Grand Prix preceded her first world title at the 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships.[15] Turning to the outdoor track, she ran an Ethiopian record time of 3:57.77 minutes at the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix.[16] She was third at the Golden Gala and runner-up at the Bislett Games. She was selected for the 2012 London Olympics, but a hamstring injury in the final lap of her heat saw her eliminated from the competition.[17]


Genzebe opened 2013 on grass, winning the 3 km competition at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country,[18] then took two indoor wins in Karlsruhe and Birmingham.

On February 1, 2014, in Karlsruhe, Germany, Genzebe Dibaba ran 3:55.17 in the 1500 m indoor event, beating the previous indoor world record by over 3 seconds. This mark was the fastest 1500 m in the world, indoor or outdoor, since 1997.[19]

Five days later, she improved the world indoor record in the 3000 metres to 8:16.60 at the XL Galan meet in Stockholm, Sweden. In that one race, she improved her own personal record by over thirty seconds, the world record by almost seven, and even though it was set on a shorter track indoors, her time was the number four time at the distance ever. Only on one occasion has the time been bettered, that was the 1993 Chinese National Games, when three athletes Wang Junxia, Qu Yunxia and Zhang Linli set the event on its ear, running times that had previously not been approached in two decades.In the month of February and in just 15 days Genzebe was able to break her third world record at indoor two-mile record at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix nine minutes and 0.48 seconds was her new record that shattered Meseret Defar previous record by six seconds.[20]

With these records Genzebe is now one of only three athletes in history to break three world records in three different events within 15 days, joining Jesse Owens and Usain Bolt. She stands alone as the only one to do this feat in three different cities and meets, and in all individual events under FAT.

In summer IAAF Diamond League competition, Genzebe won the 1500 at Monaco.


Genzebe won the women's 5000m at the 2015 Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon in a then-personal best time of 14:19.76.[21] She then went on to win the 5000m at the Diamond League Meet Areva in Paris on July 4 in a new personal best time of 14:15:41. This was her fifth 5000 meter run under 14:30. Only four days later, she set a new African record for the 1500m of 3:54.11, virtually single handedly running the fastest 1500 in the world in 18 years[2] and the ninth fastest of all time. 6 of the 8 times ahead of her were run in two races at the 1993 Chinese National Games, where much of the running community believes the communist government was sponsoring a doping scheme in the days before serious drug testing was required. On 17 July 2015 in Monaco, Genzebe broke the 1500m world record, which had previously been considered near-unbreakable, in a time of 3:50:07.

At the World Championships in Beijing, she would become World Champion in 1500 m as well as claiming the bronze medal in the 5000 m event.


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
2007 World Cross Country Championships Mombasa, Kenya 5th Junior race (6 km) 21:23
2008 World Cross Country Championships Edinburgh, Scotland 1st Junior race (6.04 km) 19:59
World Junior Championships in Athletics Bydgoszcz, Poland 2nd 5000 m 16:16.75
2009 World Cross Country Championships Amman, Jordan 1st Junior race (6 km) 20:14
Ethiopian Athletics Championships Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 1st 5000 m
African Junior Championships Bambous, Mauritius 1st 5000 m 16:11.85
World Championships Berlin, Germany 8th 5000 m 15:11.12
2010 World Junior Championships Moncton, Canada 1st 5000 m 15:08.06
2012 World Indoor Championships Istanbul, Turkey 1st 1500 m 4:05.78
2013 World Championships Moscow, Russia 8th 1500 m 4:05.99
2014 World Indoor Championships Sopot, Poland 1st 3000 m 8:55.04
2015 World Championships Beijing, China 1st 1500 m 4:08.09
3rd 5000 m 14:44.14

Personal bests

Type Event Time Date Place Notes
Outdoor 1500 metres 3:50.07 17 July 2015 Monaco, Monaco World record
3000 metres 8:26.21 9 May 2014 Doha, Qatar
5000 metres 14:15.41 4 July 2015 Paris, France
Indoor 1500 metres 3:55.17 1 February 2014 Karlsruhe, Germany World record
3000 metres 8:16.60 6 February 2014 Stockholm, Sweden World record
Two miles 9:00.48 15 February 2014 Birmingham, England World best
5000 metres 14:18.86 19 February 2015 Stockholm, Sweden World record[22]
  • All information taken from IAAF profile.


  1. ^ a b c d e
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ a b c d e f
  4. ^ Dibaba sisters make it a family affair – Edinburgh 2008. IAAF (2008-03-30). Retrieved on 2013-02-17.
  5. ^ Junior Women's Race Report – Edinburgh 2008. IAAF. 30 March 2008
  6. ^ Genzebe keeps the Dibaba family at the top of the world – Amman 2009. IAAF. 28 March 2009
  7. ^ Golden League 2008 – Bislett Games 5000 Metres W Results. IAAF. 2008-06-06
  8. ^ Valiente, Emeterio (2009-11-08). Gebremariam and G. Dibaba secure Ethiopian double in Atapuerca. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-11-09.
  9. ^ Hendrix, Ivo (2010-02-15). Koech clocks World best in 2000m Steeplechase, G. Dibaba impresses in Gent. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-02-15.
  10. ^ Johnson, Len (2010-03-28). Cherono sets the record straight – Women's Junior race report – Bydgoszcz 2010. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-03-29.
  11. ^ Morse, Parker (2010-07-22). Women's 5000m final. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-11-07.
  12. ^ Valiente, Emeterio (2010-11-07). Medhin and Dibaba outclass World champions in Atapuerca. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-11-07.
  13. ^ Wenig, Jorg (2011-01-08). Kipchoge and Masai prevail in snowy Edinburgh. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-01-09.
  14. ^ Mulkeen, Jon (2012-02-13). Dibaba runs fifth fastest indoor 1500m ever in Karlsruhe, sprint world leads set in Fayetteville. Athletics Weekly. Retrieved on 2013-02-17.
  15. ^ Ramsak, Bob (2012-03-10). EVENT REPORT - Women's 1500 Metres - Final. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-17.
  16. ^ Johnson, Len (2012-05-19). Liu Xiang and G. Dibaba the standouts in rainy Shanghai – Samsung Diamond League. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-17.
  17. ^ Ramsak, Bob (2012-08-06). London 2012 - Event Report - Women's 1500m Heats. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-17.
  18. ^ Dibaba dashes Defar's hopes with speedy finish in Edinburgh. IAAF (2013-01-05). Retrieved on 2013-02-17.
  19. ^ [1]. Athletics Weekly (2014-02-26). Retrieved on 2015-04-02.
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Genzebe Dibaba Smashes 5000m Indoor WORLD RECORD XL-Galan 2015

External links

  • Genzebe Dibaba profile at IAAF
  • Genzebe Dibaba | At Home with the Ethiopian Athletics Star Trans World Sport profile
Preceded by
Qu Yunxia
Women's 1,500 m World Record Holder
July 17, 2015 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Yelena Soboleva
Women's 1,500 m Indoor World Record Holder
February 1, 2014 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Meseret Defar
Women's 3,000 m Indoor World Record Holder
February 6, 2014 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Missy Franklin
Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year
Succeeded by
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