For the world’s leading athletes converging on Oslo for the sixth IAAF Diamond League meeting of the season, a mass of posters at their hotel next to the central station serves as a vivid reminder that this year marks the 50th anniversary staging of the ExxonMobil Bislett Games.
Champions past and present will be in the stadium tonight, and inevitably much of the focus will be on Oslo’s unique annual presentation, the Dream Mile, and Genzebe Dibaba’s attempt to better the world 5000m record set in the same stadium by her elder sister Tirunesh in 2008.
But if the Bislett Games is to see its 28th senior world record on this special night – and the first since that mark of 14:11.15 set by Dibaba senior – it could well come in the field rather than the track, given the stellar collection of men’s high jumpers assembled.
Dibaba’s quest is part of an Oslo family tradition. Not only did her elder sister set the current 5000m mark in the Bislett Stadium, but in 2008 it also played host to the only race in which Tirunesh, Genzebe and Ejegayehu Dibaba all lined up against one another.
So Dibaba junior – who ran an outdoor personal best of 14:19.76 at her last IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene – has plenty of markers to aim for en route to her sister’s record, not least the 14:14.32 her Ethiopian compatriot Almaz Ayana set in Shanghai, which is the fastest run so far this year.
Ayana is not in the field here, but Dibaba’s opponents include fellow Ethiopian Gelete Burka, who has a best of 14:31.20, and Kenya’s Viola Kibiwot, who has run 14:33.48.
The expected 15,000 sell-out crowd is expected to include an Ethiopian fanbase of about 1500.
Commenting on the task ahead, Dibaba said: “I will be paced to 2km then I will take over myself. The weather conditions are supposed to be perfect so I hope to take my sister’s record.
“I’ve spoken to my sister and she told me to use the unique atmosphere in the great stadium.”
Read more at: IAAF.org