2015 End-of-Year Review: Women’s 1,500m

Genzebe Dibaba on her way to breaking the 1500m world record at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco (photo: Philippe Fitte)
Genzebe Dibaba on her way to breaking the 1500m world record at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco (photo: Philippe Fitte)

It was a season of fast times for the women’s 1500m.

The first sub-four-minute race came early, at the start of June in Rome. USA’s 2011 world champion Jenny Simpson won in a world-leading 3:59.31 as Sifan Hassan (Dutch/Ethiopian) and 18-year-old Ethiopian Dawit Seyaoum also finished within four minutes.

But in early July Genzebe Dibaba, the world indoor record holder, produced a huge solo performance at the Catalunyan Championships in Barcelona. The 24-year-old crushed the African record with 3:54.11. Significantly, she was totally alone for the last 800m and finished with a 61.1-second last lap.

After this it was clear that Qu Yunxia’s world record of 3:50.46, which had stood for almost 22 years, was finally in jeopardy.

Just nine days later, Dibaba attacked that mark at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco and memorably set a 3:50.07 world record. Behind her, Hassan set a Dutch record of 3:56.05 for second place and in third Shannon Rowbury broke the North American record with 3:56.29. Simpson was fourth in 3:57.30 and Britain’s Laura Muir was fifth in a PB of 3:58.66.

Dibaba was the overwhelming favourite for the 1500m title at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015. Having broken the world record and being a fast finisher, there was nothing the others could do tactically to beat her.

In a slow race, the script was easy and Dibaba sprinted away for the gold in 4:08.09, having covered the final 800m in 1:57.2. It was her first senior outdoor global gold medal, having won world indoor titles in 2012 and 2014.

Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon took the silver in 4:08.96, having raced in just two international races before Beijing, finishing in second place in both Oslo and Lausanne. Hassan, the European champion indoors and out, took the bronze in 4:09.34.

Read more at: IAAF.org

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