Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba Breaks 1,500-Meter World Record
Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia broke the world record in the women’s 1500 meters on Friday, running 3:50.07 in Monaco that saw perhaps the single best day of metric mile races among both men and women in recent history.
Friday’s world record came at the Meeting Herculis in Monaco, the tenth leg of track-and field’s elite Diamond League meet series. Among the 28 men and women who raced respective 1500-meter races, 20 ran personal bests, including at least four regional records.
Also in the women’s race, Shannon Rowbury of the U.S. broke Mary Decker Slaney’s 32-year American record at the distance, running 3:56.29 for third place, behind Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands.
In the men’s race, Asbel Kiprop of Kenya, the reigning 1500-meter world champion defeated the reigning Olympic champion, Taoufik Makhloufi, running 3:26.69, the third-fastest time in history.
Dibaba, age 24, shattered the previous world record of 3:50.46 set by China’s Yunxia Qu in 1993, a time so fast that many in track and field believed it to be untouchable. No woman had broken 3 minutes and 55 seconds in 18 years, until Dibaba herself ran 3:54.11 just a week ago in Barcelona.
“Gosh, it’s amazing. I knew the race was going to be very fast with Dibaba and that I needed to pass the more people I could. I also knew I needed to beat Jenny Simpson if I wanted to break the national record,” said Rowbury, referring to her fellow countrywoman who has won gold and silver medals at the World Championships and was last year’s Diamond League champion in the 1500 meters. Ms. Simpson ran 3:57.30 for fourth place.
Dibaba is the younger sister of Tirunesh Dibaba, the world-record holder in the 5,000 meters, and a three-time Olympic gold medalist. The elder Dibaba is skipping the 2015 track and field season after the birth of her first child earlier this year.
Speaking after the race, Dibaba said she thinks she could run under 3:50, and will also try to break her older sister’s 5,000-meter world record sometime after this year’s World Championships in Beijing.
“I’m the first from Ethiopia getting 1500-meter world record, that is amazing,” Dibaba said. “I think Tirunesh will be happy, all Ethiopia will be happy.”