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World 1500m champion Genzebe Dibaba set an outright 1000m personal best at the ‘Villa de Madrid’ international meeting, but fell a couple of seconds shy of her world record target.
Paced by Viktoria Kushnir of Belarus, Genzebe’s early splits proved to be too fast as the pacesetter went through the opening 200m in 28:80 to reach the 400m point in 58:47, more than a second inside the pace required to break Maria Mutola’s 2:30.94 world indoor record.
Shortly after the 500m mark, the 26-year-old Ethiopian overtook the pacemaker and passed 600m in 1:29:36, her 30.89 lap split confirming her rhythm had slightly fallen.
Even being roared on by the capacity crowd over the closing two laps, Genzebe reached 800m in 2:00.62 and it became clear by then that Mutola’s record would be safe. At the tape, the three-time world indoor champion clocked a national indoor record of 2:33.06 to finish head and shoulders clear of her fellow Ethiopian Gudaf Tsegay, runner-up in 2:38:05.
Already holder of six world indoor records or bests – 1500m, mile, 2000m, 3000m, two miles and 5000m – Genzebe, who could not stop coughing after the race maybe because of the Madrid altitude effect, commented: “I had serious hopes of breaking the record. Honestly, the first 400m was a bit quick; in addition, I had to run on my own from the 500m point but anyway I’m satisfied with my try. I’ll now return to Addis Ababa to build up for the outdoor season when I would like to make the 5000m/10,000m double at the World Championships in London.”