Multiple world record holder and world champion Genzebe Dibaba has pulled out of Saturday’s Athletics President’s Cup 10,000m Olympic qualifier due to an injury, according to her coach Jama Aden.
The middle-distance queen was scheduled to compete in a 10,000m for the first time in her career as she contemplates adding the event to her Rio Olympics agenda but that experiment has been postponed as Aden reports Dibaba has suffered an injury in her left foot.
“Genzebe wanted to come but she suffered a slight injury at the last minute and was forced to pull out because the doctor recommended she rest for two weeks,” Aden told Sport360 on Friday at the Dubai Police Stadium.
Dibaba is the current world champion and world record holder in the 1,500m and also owns world records indoors in the 1,500m, 3,000m, mile, two miles and 5,000m. Aden says the 25-year-old is yet to decide on her schedule for the Rio Olympics.
“Genzebe is a versatile athlete and can run many different distances, the 1,500m, the 3,000, 5,000…” said the Somalian former middle-distance runner.
“She wanted to test herself in the 10,000m and perhaps go for the world record or run the distance in Rio this summer. This injury is a small setback and we haven’t decided yet which events she’ll be doing in Rio, be it the 1,500m or the 5,000m or the 10,000.”
Aden also coaches Ethiopian-born Emiratis, Alia Saeed and Betlhem Belayneh, who will both be competing in the 10,000m Saturday.
Saeed is the reigning Asian champion in the event while Belayneh, specialised in the 1,500m and 5,000m, will be running in support of her team-mate.
“Alia is in good shape and she wants to smash her own national record,” said Aden. “She has already qualified to Rio but she wants to cement her status and showcase her skills, competing against the best.”
The President’s Cup kicked off Friday with UAE Olympian and former Asian champion, Omar Al Salfa, helping Al Ahli club pull-off an impressive victory in the 4x100m relay race.
Al Nasr were in command before Al Salfa secured victory in the final stretch for Ahli, who clocked 40.89 seconds. Nasr took silver with 41.48s while Emirates club were an 5.38 seconds behind in third.
Al Salfa made history for the UAE when he became the first Emirati to make a quarter-final at the World Athletics Championships in 2009. He stopped competing for three years after undergoing knee surgery but has returned to competition this season looking to regain his form.
“I’m not focused on my timings this meet. What is important is to claim the Cup for Al Ahli,” said the 29-year-old, who also took silver on Friday night in the 200m, behind his brother Bilal.