Genzebe Dibaba

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Genzebe Dibaba
Recepció a l'atleta Genzebe Dibaba (cropped).jpg
Genzebe Dibaba in 2016
Personal information
Full nameGenzebe Dibaba Keneni
Born (1991-02-08) 8 February 1991 (age 31)
Chefe, Bekoji, Arsi Province, Ethiopia
Height168 cm (5 ft 6 in)
Weight52 kg (115 lb)[1]
Country Ethiopia
SportWomen's athletics
Event(s)1500 metres, 3000 metres, 5000 metres
Coached byTolera Dinka
Achievements and titles
World finals
  • 2009
  • 5000 m, 8th
  • 2011
  • 5000 m, 8th
  • 2013
  • 1500 m, 7th
  • 2015
  • 1500 m,  Gold
  • 5000 m,  Bronze
  • 2017
  • 1500 m, 12th
Olympic finals
  • 2012
  • 1500 m, 22nd (h)
  • 2016
  • 1500 m,  Silver
Personal best(s)
  • Outdoor
  • 800 m: 1:59.37 (Doha 2017)
  • 1500 m: 3:50.07 WR (Monaco 2015)
  • 3000 m: 8:21.29 (Palo Alto, CA 2019)
  • 5000 m: 14:15.41 (Paris 2015)
  • Indoor
  • 1500 m: 3:55.17i (Karlsruhe 2014)
  • 3000 m: 8:16.60i WR (Stockholm 2014)
  • 5000 m: 14:18.86i WR (Stockholm 2015)

Genzebe Dibaba Keneni (Oromo: Ganzabee Dibaabaa Qananii; Amharic: ገንዘቤ ዲባባ ቀነኒ; born 8 February 1991) is an Ethiopian middle- and long-distance runner. A 1500 metres 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist, she won a gold medal in this event and a bronze in the 5000 metres at the 2015 World Championships. Genzebe is the current world record holder for the 1500m, and the indoor events of the one mile, 3000m and 5000m.

Having competed at all World Athletics Championships between 2009 and 2017, Genzebe placed in the finals of all events in which she took part. She is a five-time World Indoor champion, winning the 1500m in 2012, the 3000m in 2014 and 2016, and securing the 1500m/3000m double in 2018. She was highly successful as a junior athlete. In 2008, at age 17, she won her first World Cross Country Championships under-20 title and took a silver medal in the 5000m at the World U20 Championships. The next year, Genzebe added her second Cross Country U20 title, and in 2010, the World U20 Championships 5000m gold. She won the 2015 Diamond League title at the event. She was named Laureus Sportswoman of the Year for 2014[2] and IAAF World Female Athlete of the Year in 2015.[3]

Genzebe comes from a sporting family of several Olympic medalists, which includes her sisters Tirunesh and Ejegayehu, and her cousin Derartu Tulu.


Genzebe Dibaba is a member of the Oromo ethnic group from the high altitude Arsi Zone of the Oromia Region and comes from an athletic family. Her older sister Tirunesh is a celebrated athlete who won many major medals. Another older sister, Ejegayehu, won the silver medal in the 10,000 metres at the 2004 Summer Olympics, and her brother Dejene is also an athlete. Her aunt is Derartu Tulu, 1992 and 2000 Olympic champion in 10,000 m.[4]


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]

Genzebe's first senior world title (1500 m) at the 2012 World Indoor Championships


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 and 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 en route her 3000m gold at the 2014 World Indoor Championships in Sopot

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 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 broke 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] [21]

With these records, Genzebe is one of only three athletes in history to break three world records in three different events within 15 days, joining Jesse Owens, who set three world records and tied another within 1 hour,[22] 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.[citation needed]

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

Genzebe at the Oslo Bislett Games in 2015


During 2015 she changed shoe sponsor. In February in XL-Galan, Stockholm, she ran for Adidas, and in March in Carlsbad (CA, USA), she had her first official competition in Nike dress in the 5k-race, where she missed the world record by a small margin.[23] The change of sponsor is associated with the change of manager – from Dutch Jos Hermens (Global Sports Communication) to Swedish Ulf Saletti. The manager change happened a few months before the sponsor change. Saletti is meeting director at Stockholm XL-Galan where she on 19 February 2015 repeated the achievement from the year before by setting a world record, now at 5000 meter with 14:18.86.

Genzebe won the women's 5000 m at the 2015 Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, in a then-personal best time of 14:19.76.[24] She then went on to win the 5000 m 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, in Barcelona, she set a new African record for the 1500 m of 3:54.11 (video), virtually single-handedly running the fastest 1500 in the world in 18 years[25] and the ninth fastest of all time. Six of the eight fastest times ahead of her occurred 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 1500 m world record, which had previously been considered near-unbreakable, in a time of 3:50:07.[26]

Genzebe (center) with Faith Kipyegon and Sifan Hassan at the medal ceremony during the 2015 World Championships in Beijing

At the World Championships in Beijing, she took the 1500 m title and claimed a bronze medal in the 5000 m event.

She was named the female IAAF World Female Athlete of the Year for 2015.[27]


In February 2016, Genzebe competed in Stockholm's Globen Galan meeting. She ran the indoor mile in 4 minutes and 13.31 seconds, breaking Doina Melinte's 26-year-old world record of 4:17.14, which had been set in 1990.[28] In April she pulled out of the Dubai Athletics President's Cup 10,000 m Olympic qualifier race due to an injury in her left foot.[29] In a track meet in Barcelona on June 30, she failed to finish a 5000 m race due to an injury. She was removed from the track in a wheelchair.[30]

In the 2016 Summer Olympics Dibaba run the women's 1500 m. In her heat (one out of 3) she won out of 14 runners in 4:10.61. In the semifinals (one out of 2) she was the fastest runner with 4.03.06. The final was won by Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon in a time of 4:08.92. Genzebe took the silver medal in a time of 4:10.27 and Jennifer Simpson placed third for a bronze medal with 4:10.53.[31]


Genzebe broke the 2000 m indoor world record and also the absolute world record, because it lowered the outdoor mark as well, on 7 February 2017 in Sabadell (Spain). She ran the distance in 5:23.75, an improvement on the former indoor best by Gabriela Szabo from 1998 by 6 seconds. The outdoor world record was set by Sonia O'Sullivan with 5:25.36.[32][33] An illness prevented her from running in her usual form at the 2017 World Athletics Championships, where she finished 12th in the 1500 metres.[34] and later pulled off from the 5000 m event.

Since September she was coached by Hussein Shibo and Tolera Dinka.[35]


At the 2018 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, she won the 1500 m[36] and the 3000 m.[37]


Genzebe won the Golden Gala 1500 m in Roma on 6. June in a time of 3:56.28. She went to Rabat on 16. June and won the 1500 m in 3:55.47.[38]

In the 1500 m Diamond League Final on 29. August in Zürich, Genzebe finished fourth in 4:00.86. The final was won by Sifan Hassan in 3:57.08, Konstanze Klosterhalfen was the runner up with 3:59.02 and Gabriela Debues-Stafford placed third in 3:59.59.[39]


All information taken from World Athletics profile.

Personal bests[edit]

Type Event Time Date Place Notes
Outdoor track 800 metres 1:59.37 5 May 2017 Doha, Qatar
1500 metres 3:50.07 17 July 2015 Monaco World record
Mile 4:14.30 6 September 2016 Rovereto, Italy NR
2000 metres 5:27.50 17 June 2014 Ostrava, Czech Republic
3000 metres 8:21.29 30 June 2019 Palo Alto, CA, USA
5000 metres 14:15.41 4 July 2015 Paris, France
Indoor 1000 metres 2:33.06 24 February 2017 Madrid, Spain NR
1500 metres 3:55.17 1 February 2014 Karlsruhe, Germany
Mile 4:13.31 17 February 2016 Stockholm, Sweden World record
2000 metres 5:23.75 7 February 2017 Sabadell, Spain World best
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
Road Half marathon 1:05:18 6 December 2020 Valencia, Spain

International competitions[edit]

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, United Kingdom 1st Junior race (6 km) 19:59
World Junior Championships Bydgoszcz, Poland 2nd 5000 m 16:16.75
2009 World Cross Country Championships Amman, Jordan 1st Junior race (6 km) 20:14
African Junior Championships Bambous, Mauritius 1st 5000 m 16:11.85
World Championships Berlin, Germany 8th 5000 m 15:11.12
2010 World Cross Country Championships Bydgoszcz, Poland 11th Junior race (6 km) 19:21
World Junior Championships Moncton, Canada 1st 5000 m 15:08.06
2011 World Cross Country Championships Punta Umbría, Spain 9th Senior race (8 km) 25:36
World Championships Daegu, South Korea 8th 5000 m 15:09.35
2012 World Indoor Championships Istanbul, Turkey 1st 1500 m 4:05.78
Olympic Games London, United Kingdom 22nd (h) 1500 m 4:11.15
2013 World Championships Moscow, Russia 7th 1500 m 4:05.99
2014 World Indoor Championships Sopot, Poland 1st 3000 m 8:55.04
African Championships Marrakesh, Morocco 2nd 5000 m 15:42.16
Continental Cup Marrakesh, Morocco 1st 3000 m 8:57.53
2015 World Championships Beijing, China 1st 1500 m 4:08.09
3rd 5000 m 14:44.14
2016 World Indoor Championships Portland, United States 1st 3000 m 8:47.43
Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2nd 1500 m 4:10.27
2017 World Cross Country Championships Kampala, Uganda 2nd Mixed relay (8 km) 22:30
World Championships London, United Kingdom 12th 1500 m 4:06.72
2018 World Indoor Championships Birmingham, United Kingdom 1st 3000 m 8:45.05
1st 1500 m 4:05.27

Circuit wins and titles[edit]


  1. ^ "Genzebe Dibaba". Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 30 May 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  2. ^ "Novak Djokovic and Genzebe Dibaba, potential stars of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, win Laureus awards". Rio 2016. 15 April 2015. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  3. ^ "Genzebe Dibaba: 2015 IAAF World Athletes of the Year". 27 November 2015. Archived from the original on 11 March 2016. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  4. ^ "Dibaba sisters make it a family affair – Edinburgh 2008". IAAF. 30 March 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  5. ^ "Junior Women's Race Report – Edinburgh 2008". IAAF. 30 March 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  6. ^ "Genzebe keeps the Dibaba family at the top of the world – Amman 2009". IAAF. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  7. ^ Golden League 2008 – Bislett Games 5000 Metres W Results Archived 2008-06-08 at the Wayback Machine. IAAF. 6 June 2008.
  8. ^ Valiente, Emeterio (8 November 2009). "Gebremariam and G. Dibaba secure Ethiopian double in Atapuerca". IAAF. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  9. ^ Hendrix, Ivo (15 February 2010). "Koech clocks World best in 2000m Steeplechase, G. Dibaba impresses in Gent". IAAF. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  10. ^ Johnson, Len (28 March 2010). "Cherono sets the record straight – Women's Junior race report – Bydgoszcz 2010". IAAF. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  11. ^ Morse, Parker (22 July 2010). "Women's 5000m final". IAAF. Archived from the original on 24 November 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
  12. ^ Valiente, Emeterio (7 November 2010). "Medhin and Dibaba outclass World champions in Atapuerca". IAAF. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  13. ^ Wenig, Jörg (8 January 2011). "Kipchoge and Masai prevail in snowy Edinburgh". IAAF. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  14. ^ Mulkeen, Jon (13 February 2012). "Dibaba runs fifth fastest indoor 1500m ever in Karlsruhe, sprint world leads set in Fayetteville". Athletics Weekly. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  15. ^ Ramsak, Bob (10 March 2012). "EVENT REPORT - Women's 1500 Metres - Final". IAAF. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  16. ^ Johnson, Len (19 May 2012). "Liu Xiang and G. Dibaba the standouts in rainy Shanghai – Samsung Diamond League". IAAF. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  17. ^ Ramsak, Bob (6 August 2012). "London 2012 - Event Report - Women's 1500m Heats". IAAF. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  18. ^ "Dibaba dashes Defar's hopes with speedy finish in Edinburgh". IAAF. 5 January 2013. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  19. ^ The rise and rise of Genzebe Dibaba. Athletics Weekly (26 February 2014). Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-27. Retrieved 2016-08-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-26. Retrieved 2014-02-19.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ Rothschild, Richard (24 May 2010). "Greatest 45 minutes ever in sports". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on 2016-08-09. Retrieved 2019-12-10.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  23. ^ Mulkeen, Jon (29 March 2015). "Dibaba runs second-fastest 5km in history at Carlsbad 5000". World Athletics. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  24. ^ Women's 5000 m - Nike Prefontaine Classic 2015 USATF.
  25. ^ "Genzebe Dibaba sets African 1500m record of 3:54.11 in Barcelona". IAAF. 8 July 2015.
  26. ^ Mulkeen, Jon (2015-07-18). "Dibaba breaks 1500m world record in Monaco with 3:50.07 – IAAF Diamond League". World Athletics. Retrieved 2021-01-01.
  27. ^ "IAAF: Eaton Dibaba 2015 World Athletes". IAAF. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  28. ^ "Genzebe Dibaba and Ayanleh Souleiman break world indoor records". Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  29. ^ Abulleil, Reem. "Genzebe Dibaba pulls out of Dubai 10,000m race with injury". Sport 360. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  30. ^ "Genzebe Dibaba fails to finish 5k race in Barcelona". Watch Athletics. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  31. ^ "Rio 2016 - Athletics - 1500m Women". Retrieved 2020-07-01.
  32. ^ "Dibaba breaks world 2000m record in Sabadell| News |". Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  33. ^ "Genzebe DIBABA | Profile |". Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  34. ^ "1500 Metres Result | IAAF World Championships London 2017 |". Archived from the original on 2017-08-08.
  35. ^ Cullum, Barney (8 March 2018). "Return of land bonuses driving Ethiopian athletics success, not drugs, says gold medal winner Yomif Kejelcha". The Independent.
  36. ^ "IAAF: 1500 Metres Result | IAAF World Indoor Championships |". Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  37. ^ "IAAF: Report: women's 3000m – IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018| News |". Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  38. ^ "Genzebe DIBABA | Profile". Retrieved 2020-03-26.
  39. ^ "1500 m women 2019 Diamond League final Zürich" (PDF).
  40. ^ "IAAF Diamond League, Brussels (BEL), 11 September 2015 – Diamond Race Standings" (PDF). Diamond League. 2015-09-11. p. 7. Retrieved 2021-01-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]

Preceded by Women's 1500 m world record holder
July 17, 2015 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by Women's 1500 m world indoor record holder
February 1, 2014 – February 9, 2021
Succeeded by
Preceded by Women's 3000 m world indoor record holder
February 6, 2014 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by Women's 5000 m world indoor record holder
February 19, 2015 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year
Succeeded by
Preceded by IAAF World Athlete of the Year
Succeeded by
Preceded by Women's Track & Field Athlete of the Year
Succeeded by