NAIROBI, Kenya, February 28- The inclusion of the feared Dibaba sisters in Ethiopia’s World Cross Country squad has not ruffled 2010 senior women champion, Emily Chebet and her compatriots who are shaping up for the March 24 showdown in Embu.
Olympics champion Tirunesh and younger sister Genzebe will lead the Ethiopian charge with the former bidding for a fourth World Cross senior title in Bydgoszcz, Poland having bowed down to the might of Chebet three years ago at the same city.
It is no surprise that the two will be leading the women’s team. They are the best in their country and even if they missed the build up and trials, their places are assured.
“Unlike Kenya where we are so many, and it is mandatory for one to compete in the trials, Ethiopians have just a few runners,” said Chebet on Wednesday from Embu.
In 2010, Dibaba against many people expectation failed to dominate as she wound up fourth in a race won by Chebet.
“I beat her in 2010 and I believe I have regained my strength and form to repeat the same. She had an injury and I too had an injury. Both of us are returning now and it will provide a perfect stage for competition,” added the 2010 winner who missed the Punta Umbria World Cross due to injury a year later.
In addition to the Dibaba sisters, Ethiopia has also granted wildcard selection to reigning World Cross senior men champion, Imane Merga and former junior titleholder, Tariku Bekele in their 32-member squad.
Tirunesh started 2013 with a solitary but solid Two Miles indoor win at the IAAF Indoor Permit meeting in Boston earlier this month.
Genzebe won her only Cross Country outing in Edinburgh last month and solo indoor 1500m victories in Karlsruhe and Birmingham, as well as a 3,000m world-leading time in Stockholm last Thursday and is in the team as a reserve.
She beat Mercy Cherono to the junior title in 2009 when the World Cross was held in Amman, Jordan but the Kenyan won the title a year later in Bydgoszcz. Genzebe failed to hit the heights in Punta Umbria despite coming in as the anchor of her team.
The Ethiopian junior line-up as Hagos Gebrhiwet, who set a World junior indoor record over 3,000m earlier this month, and the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships 5000m gold medalists Muktar Edris and Buze Diriba.
Senior men’ s 12km – Feysa Lilesa, Mosinet Geremew, Abera Chane, Imane Merga, Tariku Bekele, Mekashaw Eshete, Yenew Alamirew, Berhanu Diro.
Senior women’ s 8km – Hiwot Ayalew, Genet Yalew, Yebrqual Melese, Meselech Melkamu, Belaynesh Oljira, Tirunesh Dibaba, Sule Utura, Genzebe Dibaba.
Junior men’ s 8km – Hagos Gebrhiwet, Birhan Nbaw, Bonsa Dida, Tsegaye Hluf, Muktar Edris, Yigrem Demelash, Yhunlign Adane, Hailu Mamo.
Junior women’ s 6km – Alemitu Haroye, Buze Diriba, Alemitu Hawi, Ruti Aga, Sofia Shemsu, Goytatom Gebrselassie, Mihret Tefera, Hirut Alemayehu.