Multiple world record-holder Genzebe Dibaba is set to compete in a 10,000m race for the first time in her career when she takes to the track at the Dubai Police Officers Club this Saturday in an Olympic qualifier.
The 25-year-old Ethiopian is the sister of the legendary three-time Olympic gold medallist Tirunesh Dibaba and 10,000m Olympic silver medallist in Athens 2004 Ejegayehu.
Genzebe is the reigning world champion in the 1,500m as well as the 3,000m indoors and will be making a surprise step up to the longer distance this weekend in Dubai at the President’s Cup.
She will headline a strong field in the 10,000m Olympic qualifier that also includes reigning Asian champion, Alia Saeed of the UAE, Ethiopian Senbere Teferi, who won silver in the 5,000m at the World Championships in Beijing last year, and Belaynesh Oljira, who was the bronze medallist in the 10,000m also in Beijing 2015.
Saeed, who has already qualified to the Olympics, will be looking to lower her UAE national record and will have her compatriot Betlhem Belayneh helping her throughout the race.
“We expect a strong race from Alia,” UAE Athletics Federation president Ahmad Al Kamali told Sport360°.
“We’re hoping she can set a new national record and perhaps land on the podium.
“I don’t think it will be easy because the field will be very strong but we hope she can be in front and push for the podium.
“The main reason for this race is to showcase Alia’s talent, and give her the right exposure, competing against the world’s best.
“This race will go down in history as Genzebe Dibaba’s first official attempt at a 10,000m.”
The 10,000m Olympic qualifier is part of a two-day President’s Cup event that will see hundreds of athletes, Emiratis and expats, representing clubs from across the UAE.
The action begins at 19:00 on Friday and 17:00 on Saturday, with the 10,000m scheduled for 19:00. Entry is free for all interested to attend.