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Dibaba Wants to Break Defar's World 5000m Record at Reebok Grand Prix
By David Monti
(c) 2007 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

NEW YORK (31-May) -- Tirunesh Dibaba, the double world champion at 5000m and 10,000m in Helsinki two summers ago, is looking to take a bite out of the Big Apple by attacking Meseret Defar's world 5000m record at Saturday's Reebok Grand Prix on Randall's Island.

At last year's meet with the track still puddled from heavy rains, Defar mustered a 61.5 second closing lap to cross the finish line in 14:24.53, toppling Elvan Abeylegesse's world record by 15/100ths of a second.  Dibaba, who set the world indoor 5000m record of 14:27.42 at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games last January, would like nothing more than easing aside her compatriot to have both the indoor and outdoor world records next to her name, instead.

"I'm planning to run a fast time for Saturday," said the still baby-faced Dibaba, now 21 years-old, through a translator.  "I can't say what kind of time, but it will be fast," she added, trying hard to supress a girlish grin.

Dibaba has been recovering from her silver medal performance at the brutally hot and humid IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa, Kenya, last March, and has not competed since then.  She made it clear at today's news conference at the Grand Hyatt hotel that she is ready to get back to competition, and having Defar's record to chase is providing special motivation.

"In a way it has motivated me," she said.  "This year I'm going to see if I can do it (the record)."

Dibaba faced Defar seven times in 2006, and prevailed four times.  Their relationship has been described as contentious, and Defar was curt in describing how the two women get along.

"Meseret, we train together in the international team," she said.  "We also have a good relationship.  That is all I can say."

In her 2007 campaign, she does not plan to race Defar until the IAAF World Championships in Osaka.  "Right now there are no plans for us meeting," she said.  "But, we may meet in Osaka."

*  *  *  *  *  *

The Reebok Grand Prix 5000m for women will feature 16 other athletes including Kim Smith of New Zealand; Amy Rudolph, Samia Akbar, Lauren Fleshman, Katie McGregor, Missy Buttrey, Renee Metivier-Baillie and Sara Slattery of the United States; Rehima Kedir, Aheza Kiros, Yimenashu Taye and Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia; Megan Metcalf of Canada; and Mary Cullen of Ireland.  Korene Hinds of Jamaica and Maria Munan of Serbie will set the pace.

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