PARIS - Tirunesh Dibaba will arrive in Beijing for the Olympic Games as hot favourite for gold in the women's 5000m or 10000m, or both if she decides to double up, after a stunning start to her season.
The diminutive 22-year-old, the reigning two-time world 10000m champion, smashed the 5km world record in June previously held by compatriot and arch-rival Meseret Defar.
During that record run at the Bislett Games in Oslo, Dibaba once again demonstrated the fighting spirit she has become known for, upping the lap times as the pacesetters fell by the wayside.
She displayed the same grit in coming from behind to win both the 10000m at last year's world championships in Osaka and the world cross-country in Edinburgh in March.
Dibaba, whose medal haul includes three other golds and one silver in the world cross-country championships, two world golds over 5000m in 2003 and 2005 and Olympic bronze in the same distance at the Athens Games, has not ruled out doubling up in Beijing.
"I'm thinking about the double," Dibaba said after her record-setting run in Oslo. "What happened makes a case for me to consider that."
Dibaba trains at high altitude in Ethiopia, up to 4000m. - Sapa-AFP