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2007 World Championship Women's 10k Preview: Dibaba Going for 9th World Crown at Age 21
By LetsRun.com
Aug 23, 2007
*Start lists
Final 8:50 am eastern on Saturday 8/24
(US visitors
Watch the Worlds Live for $4.95 for the entire World Champs)

This race is Tirunesh Dibaba's to lose and we don't expect her to do that.

Dibaba has dominated the long distances for the last 4 years, with her country woman Meseret Defar being the only person able to consistently challenge her. Defar, the world record holder at 5k, is only contesting the 5k, so Dibaba is the heavy favorite in this one.

Dibaba swept the 5k and 10k titles at the 2005 Worlds in her best year as a professional as she also captured the short and long course cross country titles. She got the ball rolling at the 2003 World Championship in the 5000m which she won as a 17 year old. Counting cross country, Dibaba already has 8 World Championship titles at the age of 21, which is the same age Kenenisa Bekele won his first.

Dibaba set the 5k world record indoors this year (14:27.42) in Boston. She has only raced twice outdoors this year. That was good enough for a Golden League win in Paris (15:35) and a win at the Reebok meet in NY (14:35). There is no reason to think anyone will be able to challenger her finishing kick in this race, but likely she'll wait until the final lap to put away her challengers.

The #1 challenger to Dibaba could be her older sister Ejegayehou Dibaba. Ejegayehou is often overlooked but actually has finished higher in the Olympics than her sister (10k silver to Tirunesh's bronze at 5k in 2004). She got the bronze at the 2005 Worlds and none of the women who finished ahead of her are back.

An Ethiopian sweep of the medals is not out of the question in any of the long distance races including this one. Mestawet Tufa won the African Games 10k and is the world leader this year (31:00).

Inga Abitova of Russia ran 30:31 to win the European champs last year and won the Russian national champs this year. Her 5k pr is actually only 15:15 so she clearly is focuses on the longer distances.

American Deena Kastor has a shot at a medal. After her incredible 2:19:36 American Record in the marathon in London in 2006, she struggled in both he NY and Boston marathons. She decided to return to her track roots this year and has returned with a vengeance. She's run 8:44.45 (2 seconds of her pr) for 3k and 14:52.21 for the win (1 second off her pr) at the DN Galan meet this year. She's also rounding into form at the right time. Her last race was the 14:52 win in Sweden which was 21 seconds faster than she ran a month earlier in Rome.

Britain's Jo Pavey has shown great success at the shorter distances (8:31 3k  this year and 14:39 5k last year, plus 5th at the Olympics at 5k in 2004)and is trying to transition to the 10k this year. She bombed in her first 10k, 32:21.19 in April but rebounded with a Worlds qualifier 31:26 and win in Watford. The question mark for her is whether she is suited for the 10k. A lot of people think they can just naturally move up in distance but 25 laps on the track is not for everyone, ignoring whether physiologically it is her best event.

Don't totally forget Japanese 5k record holder Kayoko Fukushi and former World XC champ Benita Johnson of Australia.

Predictions: 1) Dibaba 2) Tufa 3) Dibaba


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