Ethiopian middle-distance runner Genzebe Dibaba (© Mark Shearman)
Genzebe Dibaba set an African 1500m record of 3:54.11 in Barcelona’s Estadi Joan Serrahima stadium on Wednesday evening (8).
Dibaba arrived in the Catalan city in the wake of her 5000m personal best of 14:15.41 when winning at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris on Saturday, looking for a fast time but also not sure about how much her efforts in the French capital had taken out of her.
Not much it seems.
She followed the Cuban pacemaker Yuneisy Santiusty through to 700 metres but with two laps to go she took off on her own and turned the race into a time trial, finishing off with a 61.1 last 400m.
Dibaba produced the fastest time over the distance since 1997, moved up to ninth on the world all-time list, and improved on the Afric an and Spanish all-comers' record of 3:55.30, which had stood to Algeria’s Hassiba Boulmerka since she won at the 1992 Olympics in the same city.
Into the bargain, Dibaba sliced just over a second off her previous personal best of 3:55.17, the existing world indoor record she set in Stockholm in February 2014.
Spain’s Solange Pereira was a distant second to Dibaba in 4:12.42.
Dibaba was not the only athlete to run a world-leading time in Barcelona on Thursday. Djibouti’s world bronze medallist Ayanleh Souleiman won the men’s 800m in a personal best of 1:43.08.
World youth 1500m champion Robert Biwott was second in a PB of 1:43.58, while Musaeb Balla set a Qatari record of 1:43.82 in third.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF