Dibaba to Run 3000m, Defar 2 Mile at Reebok Boston Games This Weekend By David Monti (c) 2008 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved January 22, 2008
gold medalists of the women's 5000m and 10,000m at last summer's IAAF
World Championships in Athletics, Meseret Defar and Tirunesh Dibaba,
will both compete at Saturday's Reebok Boston Indoor Games (RBIG),
organizers have confirmed. Although the two athletes will run similar
distances, the two Ethiopian stars will not be running head-to-head;
Defar will run two miles and Dibaba 3000m.
"Defar and Dibaba did
not want to race each other in the first meet of the year, and a 5000
didn't fit into the training of either one right now," explained Mark
Wetmore of Global Athletics & Marketing, the Boston-based athlete
management firm which manages the meet and represents the two athletes.
"This was a way to get them both into the event, and that was our
Both athletes have enjoyed record-breaking
performances --and disappointments-- at the RBIG which is held at the
Reggie Lewis Track Facility at Roxbury Community College.
made her first appearance in 2002, running the two-mile and finishing
second to American Regina Jacobs who set a still-standing world best of
9:23.38 (Jacobs was later convicted of a doping offense and has since
left the sport). Defar came back in 2003 to win a tactical 3000m,
beating compatriots Sentayehu Ejigu and Tirunesh Dibaba, in 8:57.22.
She also defeated Dibaba the following year in the 5000m, 14:53.14 to
14:53.99 (Derartu Tulu was third). In 2005 Defar made a valiant
attempt at the world indoor 3000m record, but had to run an extra
stride or two to pass a lapped runner, and fell 9/10ths of a second
short, clocking what was then the #2 time ever (8:30.05). In 2006, she
again tried for the world record at the same distance, but her 8:30.94
didn't quite get it done. At last year's meet, in another record
attempt, she won the 3000m again in 8:30.31 (she then went on to break
Liliya Shobukhova's world record at a different meet in Stuttgart in a
mind-blowing 8:23.72). In all, Defar has been victorious five times at
the RBIG, but has yet to set a world record at the meet.
first appearance in Boston came at the 2003 edition of the meet,
finishing third in the 3000m to Defar and Ejigu. She was only 17 at
the time. In 2004 she finished a close second to Defar in the 5000m,
then came back in 2005 to smash the 5000m indoor world record by over
six seconds, stopping the clock at 14:32.93. She won the 5000m in 2006
in another record attempt, recording what was then the #2 indoor mark
of all-time (14:35.46). At last year's RBIG, Dibaba sliced another
five and one-half seconds off of her own world standard, running
14:27.42. She has achieved three victories and two world records in
her racing at the RBIG.
If history is any guide, both athletes
will again be gunning for the world records, or bests, in their
respective events (the two-mile is not an IAAF record distance). The
meet's spokesperson, Barbara Huebner, said that world record bonuses
were available to the athletes, but were "unspecified." Defar would be
gunning for Jacobs's two-mile mark of 9:23.38, while Dibaba would have
to beat Defar's 3000m standard of 8:23.72.
Although both face
extremely difficult challenges, a statistician would argue that Defar's
is the easier task. Her 3000m world record is roughly equivalent to a
9:03 two mile, and it is possible that she could become the first woman
ever to string together two 4:30 miles back-to-back.
# # # # #
Reebok Boston Indoor Games begins at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. Complete
meet information, including how to buy tickets, is posted at http://www.bostonindoorgames.com.
The Reggie Lewis Track Facility is small, with the front row seats
just a few meters from the edge of the track. This is one of the best
opportunities to see some of the athletes who will make the podium in
Beijing up close.