Being the younger sibling of a legend, in any field of life, has its own disadvantages. You get compared so very often to the famous one, and you are expected to match the elder one's deeds all the time.
It has its advantages too. There is always someone to look up to and you can tap into the reservoir of experience the senior person provides.
Genzebe Dibaba has tasted both the aspects in good measure. The impact left by her elder sister Tirunesh is such that not a moment passes without her being asked a question or two about Ethiopia’s three-time Olympic and 5-time world champion.
Genzebe, for her all talent, had been struggling to find her range and rhythm in outdoor meets, unable to live up to the Dibaba name. Finally on Tuesday night at the 15th World Championships in athletics, she stepped up to the big league.
“My sister won gold at the Olympic Games here (in 5000 and 10000) and I wanted to emulate her. Record books will now show that both the Dibaba sisters won gold in Beijing,” said a smiling Genzebe after taking the 1500M gold to add to the world record that she set in Monaco in July.
The 24-year-old also owns the indoor world record in the event and her win made her the first to hold the indoor and outdoor world records as well as the indoor and outdoor world titles at the same time.
Genzebe attributed her successes to the training she has done this year. “As you are aware, my preparation this year was very good. I did every piece of training to be at the top. If my victory was expected, the expectation was right,” she remarked.
Genzebe revealed she benefits a lot from tips from Tirunesh. “Most of our talks are about showing courage on the track. For me, Tirunesh is the special one, she means world class and she is everything to me. I have been following in her footsteps -- training hard and fighting hard every day.
“She always tells me to be brave on the track. When I spoke to her about the race tactics, she told me to be decisive -- make your move when you feel the time is right and go all out,” said Genzebe about a runner who used to decimate her rivals with her furious injection of speed in the final lap. “We used to train together but she became pregnant and has stopped training,” she added.
Genzebe's main focus was the 5000 metres this year but things changed for the better back in July. "I ran a 3:54.11 in Barcelona and then decided to prepare for the 1500M. Then I broke the world record in Monaco and I finally decided to run both distances," she said.
Her 5000M duel with compatriot Almaz Ayana has been tipped as a race to watch out for but on current form, Genzebe certainly looks the favourite to add to the growing Dibaba collection.