21 February, 2019

Genzebe Dibaba: World Record Breaker

  • © Philippe Fitte

In the latest in our series of throwbacks to some of the best moments in IAAF Diamond League history, we return to Monaco in 2015, where Ethiopia's Genzebe Dibaba broke the 1500m world record in a nail-biting finish.

On the eve of the Herculis Meeting in 2015, the French Riviera was abuzz with speculation that Genzebe Dibaba may be about to break a decades-old world record. 

Dibaba had been dominant in that season, and would go on to win the Diamond Trophy later in the summer, but it was her performance in Monaco which had jaws dropping to the floor. 

For 22 years, Qu Yunxia had held the world record in the women's 1500m, her 3:50.46 from 1993 considered to be almost unassailable. 

Yet Dibaba put paid to that notion in Monaco, as she soared ahead of the field, hunting down the clock in search of a new record. 

As the bell rang out, the Ethiopian star needed to complete the final lap in 60 seconds or less. It would go down to the wire. 

As she pulled into the final bend, it seemed that the record might just have escaped Dibaba. The clock was beginning to outrun her, and she would require an extraordinary final push to get her over the line. 

She delivered just that, drawing on her last reserves fo energy to push herself down the home straight and cross the line with less than a second to spare, making her a new world record holder with 3:50.07.

Only the second athlete ever to break a world record in the IAAF Diamond League, Dibaba seemed to inspire her fellow athletes, as two more world records were broken on the circuit the following year.