OSLO (Reuters) - Twice world 10,000 metres champion Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia shattered the world women’s 5,000 record when she clocked 14 minutes 11.15 seconds at the Oslo Golden League meeting in the Bislett stadium on Friday.
Dibaba broke the mark of 14:16.63 set by her compatriot Meseret Defar at the same stadium on June 15 last year.
Lucy Wangui of Kenya was second in 14:33.49, a personal best for her, and sister Ejegayehu Dibaba was third in 14:36.78 at the second of the six Golden League meetings of the season in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics in August.
The early pace was set by Anna Alminova of Russia before Dibaba, one of three sisters in the race, pulled away on a balmy evening in the Norwegian capital.
“I am very, very happy, it’s a joyous day,” Dibaba, the world indoor 5,000 record holder, told reporters after setting the 54th world record recorded at the Bislett stadium since 1924. “I’ve been thinking about it a long time.”
Dibaba, who had declared her intention to try for the record in Oslo, said she was surprised to break the mark by nearly five seconds, especially since the pace dropped off too much for her liking after the pacemaker left around 3,000 metres.
“I needed to catch up...and with two laps left I knew I had it,” she said, adding that her sister Ejageyehu helped pace her throughout the race as planned.
Dibaba, 22, said she trained at about 4,000 metres altitude in the days before coming to sea level in Oslo.
Her performance does not count towards the $1 million Golden League jackpot shared by athletes who win all of their events as the women’s 5,000 is not one of the 10 disciplines this season.
Croatia’s Blanka Vlasic won the women’s high jump, clearing 2.04 metres, improving her season’s best of 2.03, and keeping her in the running for the jackpot after her triumph in Berlin five days ago. It was her 26th straight victory.
An attempt at a world record height of 2.10, which would have broken the 21-year-old record of Bulgaria’s Stefka Kostadinova at 2.09 metres failed.
Earlier, U.S. Olympic and world champion Jeremy Wariner set a year’s best of 43.98 seconds in the 400 metres.
Wariner was beaten to the line in the opening Golden League meeting last Sunday by fellow-American LaShawn Merritt.
“My first hundred (metres) was really good,” Wariner said. “I showed that just because I lost a race don’t count me out. I don’t like to lose, and when I do I learn from it because I want to get back on top.”
Bahama’s Christopher Brown was second in 44.40 seconds and Costa Rica’s Nery Brenes third with 45.21 seconds on a warm breezy evening at the Bislett stadium in the Norwegian capital.
Russia’s world record holder Gulnara Galkina also set a year’s leading time of nine minutes 14.77 seconds in the women’s 3,000 metres steeplechase, running away from a strong field. The event makes its Olympic debut in Beijing.
Galkina beat compatriot and world champion Yekaterina Volkova by nearly four seconds, with Australia’s Donna Macfarlane third.
Sudan’s 18-year-old Abubaker Kaki won the men’s 800 metres in 1:42.69 seconds, a world junior record and the time under 1:43 seconds in the past five years.
The next Golden League meeting is scheduled for Rome on June 11.
Editing by John Mehaffey