Athletics Athletics

Obiri beaten as Dibaba picks third World Indoor title in a row

Hellen Obiri

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 1 – Hellen Obiri’s efforts to reclaim her World Indoor title in the women’s 3000m were thwarted after the Kenyan finished fourth in a race that saw Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba win gold for the third time in a row on the opening day of the 2018 edition in Birmingham on Thursday.

Genzebe clocked 8:45.05 to win gold ahead of Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands who returned a seasons best of 8:45.68 to take home silver while home based Laura Muir settled for bronze in also a seasons best time of 8:45.78.

Obiri, who won the title in 2012, faded to fourth after clocking 8:49.66, missing a medal as his rival Dibaba reigned supreme with a superb performance to see her complete a hat-trick of titles.

“I’m very happy to be world indoor champion for the third time,” said Dibaba, who, along with most of the rest of the 3000m field, will line up for the 1500m heats tomorrow. “This is a great competition and the race was fantastic. This day is for me and my country.

“I wasn’t good in 2017, but 2018 is my time.”

Genzebe Dibaba wins the 3000m IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018 (Getty Images) © Copyright

It was a slow pace race that saw Briton, cheered by home crowed take the lead as the pack went through the 400m in 1:15 while defending champion Dibaba was cruising at the back of the bunched group.

With seven laps to go, they went through 1600m in 4:58 with Klosterhalfen leading with the big four of Dibaba, Obiri Hassan and Muir not making any sign of opening up the race.

However, hitting the 2000m mark, Dibaba charged up as the pack started breaking up with Obiri moving to second.

Dibaba proved that she is an indoor performer when she had to work round that last lap as Hassan and Muir battled for the minor medals, but in reality neither were able to challenge the Ethiopian who always looked to have an extra gear.

With a second half of 4:03, a last kilometre of 2:37.43 and a final lap of 29.44 seconds, Dibaba recorded her fastest ever closing splits from her world indoor 3000m victories.

Muir made up ground on Hassan in the closing stages, but the Dutch record-holder managed to hold off the Briton to take silver, 8:45.68 to Muir’s 8:45.78. Obiri, meanwhile, faded on the final lap and finished a distant fourth in 8:49.66, just ahead of USA’s Shelby Houlihan.