Ethiopia's Genzebe Dibaba on her way to breaking the world indoor 3000m record in Stockholm
Just five days after breaking the world indoor 1500m record, Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba smashed the world indoor 3000m record* at Stockholm’s XL Galan, an IAAF Indoor Permit meeting, with a stunning 8:16.60 run on Thursday (6).
With a race pattern strikingly similar to the one she used when running 3:55.17 in Karlsruhe, and running on the 16-year anniversary of Daniel Komen’s world indoor record over the same distance, the race started out reasonably fast and ended even quicker.
At 1000m (2:48.7), by which time the pacemakers had dropped out, Dibaba was on par with Meseret Defar’s world record pace. At 1500m (4:12.0) she was two seconds ahead and at 2000m (5:34.25) she was almost five seconds faster.
As she crossed the finish line in 8:16.60, she had cut more than seven seconds from the previous record of 8:23.72 set seven years ago by Defar. Expressed in splits, she had halves of 4:12/4:04 and kilometres of 2:48/2:46/2:42.
Dibaba covered the final 2000m in 5:27.95 – more than two seconds quicker than the world indoor record for that event.
Her winning time is also an outright African record, bettering the 8:23.23 set outdoors by Edith Masai in 2002. It is the fastest performance indoors or outdoors since 1993. Only three women – Chinese trio Wang Junxia, Qu Yunxia and Zhang Linli – have ever run faster.
To underline the magnitude of Dibaba’s performance, the world indoor champion over the distance, Hellen Obiri, improved her PB by six seconds to finish second with a Kenyan indoor record of 8:29.99, but still could not get within 13 seconds of the winner.
The top nine finishers, seven of whom dipped below 8:50, all set indoor PBs.
Dibaba’s recent exploits also changed the landscape for former compatriot Abeba Aregawi. The world 1500m champion ran 3:58.40 here last year to just miss the world indoor record by 0.12. Today she fulfilled her ambition to run faster than that, but her 3:57.91 wasn’t quite a world record as it was more than two-and-a-half seconds slower than Dibaba’s record-breaking run in Karlsruhe last Saturday.
Nevertheless, Aregawi was content with setting a European indoor record. At half way, Aregawi was almost a second ahead of Dibaba’s record pace, but despite a final 400m of 61.5, she was unable to match Dibaba´s storming 59.6 for her final two laps five days ago.
In second, Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay set a world youth indoor best of 4:08.47.
Of course Dibaba’s world record and Aregawi’s second-fastest performance of all-time were the absolute highlights of the evening, but there were many other highlights for the almost 9000 fans in the stands.
World leads in women’s jumps and men’s middle-distance
In the women’s high jump, Russia’s Mariya Kuchina and Sweden’s Emma Green Tregaro were still tied for the lead after 1.96m. But while Green Tregaro came close to raising her season’s best to 1.98m, the Russian cleared that height on her first attempt and then flew over the bar at 2.01m on her third and final attempt, improving her PB and world-leading mark by one centimetre. Job done for the night, the 21-year-old didn’t attempt any further heights.
The world-leading mark in the women’s pole vault was similarly raised by one centimetre. Germany’s Silke Spiegelburg and Greece’s Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou cleared 4.72m on their first and second attempts respectively.
Spiegelburg then also had one close attempt at 4.78m, but the happiest was probably Kyriakopoulou who all but secured a place in the IAAF World Indoor Championships final by raising her own national indoor record by 12 centimetres.
In the men’s 800m, world champion Mohammed Aman came close to the first sub-1:45 run of the year, but he tired markedly on the last lap.
The Ethiopian still won comfortably in 1:45.08, lowering his own world-leading mark, but in the last 100 metres both Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski and Spain’s Kevin Lopez closed noticeably and finished just a few meters behind in 1:45.56 and 1:45.69 respectively.
The men’s 1500m had a loaded field, so much so that in the end the win and the world lead (3:35.0h) was snatched by a runner few saw as a contender for the top honour.
With two laps to go, Morocco’s Mohamed Moustaoui took the initiative and didn’t relinquish the lead. A fast-finishing Ayanleh Souleiman took second place in a Djiboutian indoor record of 3:35.2 ahead of Bethwell Birgen, the top Kenyan finisher.
Previous world leader Silas Kiplagat never really featured in the race and finished eighth, almost four seconds behind Moustaoui.
Long jump lives up to expectations
The depth was perhaps even better in the men’s long jump, where five jumpers surpassed the eight-metre barrier.
Zimbabwe’s 2011 world bronze medallist Ngoni Makusha only took one jump, but his 8.18m held up for the win as the strongest challenge came from home favourite Michel Torneus, whose best mark measured four centimetres shorter.
After three wins in a row at this meeting, Torneus had to be content with second place, but he still moved to third on the 2014 world indoor season list. Panama’s 2008 Olympic champion was third with 8.11m, his best indoor mark for six years.
Czech Pavel Maslak once again proved that the winning formula for the indoor 400m is to take the lead when breaking for the inside lane and not let anyone get close enough to challenge on the second lap.
Of course that tactic takes both speed and stamina but the European champion showed both, winning by a couple of metres in 45.66 to equal his own national indoor record.
World indoor champion Nery Brenes ended up fourth and last behind Maslak and Olympic silver medallist Luguelin Santos and Denmark’s Nick Ekelund-Arenander, both athletes setting national indoor records of 45.89 and 46.31 respectively.
The 60m hurdles didn’t quite provide the expected quality as world leader Pascal Martinot-Lagarde hit the first hurdle and never found his rhythm after that. The win instead went to 2008 Olympic champion Dayron Robles in a modest 7.62.
In the women’s long jump, world bronze medallist Ivana Spanovic gained a narrow victory with 6.58m ahead of Erica Jarder’s 6.57m. Like fellow Swede Torneus, Jarder first competed at this meeting as a 12-year-old in the youth relay.
World youth champion Irene Ekelund, 16, won the women’s 200m in 23.48, two tenths ahead of an athlete twice her age, Jamaica’s Aleen Bailey. Earlier in the evening, Ekelund finished sixth in the 60m which was won by Germany’s Verena Sailer in 7.22.
A Lennart Julin for the IAAF
*Subject to the usual ratification procedures