World 1500m record-holder Genzebe Dibaba has expressed her delight after producing a world-leading time of 3:55.47 at the Rabat Diamond League.
The Ethiopian superstar pushed all the way round the final bend and down the finishing straight by Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands, who was rewarded with a national record of 3:55.93 on Sunday.
It was a classic battle in cool and somewhat blustery conditions, and both women finished with teeth conspicuously gritted.
“I am very happy with my performance tonight,” said Dibaba, whose winning time was also an African all-comers’ record.
“It feels great running in Africa. Based on my level and performance, I feel ready for the World Championships.”
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At the bell, Dibaba led from the European 5000m champion and Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay, but the latter was dropped as the two leaders hared off towards the final bend.
As they came round to the straight, Hassan came up to Dibaba’s shoulder, but could never get past it. She made another effort halfway down the straight, but the Ethiopian maintained a couple of metres’ lead to the line.
Tsegay finished third in a personal best of 3:57.40, with home runner Rababe Arafi, winner in Shanghai, being rewarded for a strong finish with a national record of 3:58.84, prompting a joyous and well received lap of honour.
Dibaba also won the gold medal in the 1500m at the Beijing World Championships and a silver medal in the 1500 meters at the 2016 Olympics.