Dubai: The last-minute pull-out of world champion Genzebe Dibaba was the biggest disappointment at the 10,000 metres Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games qualifying event held at the Dubai Police Officers Club late on Saturday.
The champion runner’s coach Jama Aden disclosed that Dibaba was forced to pull out at the last minute due to an injury on the big toe of her left foot. “Luckily, it is nothing serious and we heeded to the doctor’s advice of staying back in Addis Ababa,” Aden told Gulf News.
“At the most, she will be out for the next two weeks, and this is a big risk for us especially because it is a few months before the Olympic Games. But the good thing is that she is able to keep working on her endurance training by cycling and going to the gym,” she added.
After a highly-successful junior career, Dibaba won gold in the 5,000 metres at last year’s IAAF World Championships. In 2014, she had been named the Laureus Sportswoman of the Year and a year later Dibaba was the IAAF World Athlete of the Year. She is also the current world record holder in the indoor 3,000 metres, 5,000 metres, the indoor mile and the indoor two mile.
Dibaba has already qualified to the Rio Games in the 1,500 metres and 5,000 metres. But the Ethiopian is trying her luck at the 10,000 metres as well. “She has a lot of options before her during her lead up to Rio. Most probably she will start with the Grand Prix in Oslo next month,” Aden revealed.
Al Ahli, meanwhile, once again wrapped up the President’s Cup in athletics while leading a clean sweep for Dubai clubs at the traditional annual season-ending meet for track and field.
Held at the Dubai Police Officers Club alongside the 10,000m qualifying round for women for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, Al Ahli concluded the day with a cumulative total of 6,524 points to win the President’s Cup for the eighth time in-a-row.
Al Nasr Club, who have recently brought in a handful of talented athletes, was placed second with a total of 4,994 points followed by Al Wasl in third with 2,949 points.
“This is a wonderful group of athletes who have been working hard all through the season. They are deserving winners tonight,” Sergey Krasovskii, Al Ahli’s new coach from Ukraine told Gulf News.
Krasovskii, who took over the track and field post at the Al Ghusais club in September last year, was confident his group of athletes can improve over a period of time. “This group is compact. They are willing to do the hard work. It is now just a question of time and they can all improve with their performances by next season. We realize that other clubs have been also building up their squads, and so we need to be better prepared,” he cautioned.
Hassan Ali Obaid Shirook, the UAE’s 400m champion and national record holder was also pleased with the strong showing from the champion club. “All of us have worked hard to reach this goal. At times we feel the need to have more competitions domestically, but we are happy that we have at least maintained our hold in this prestigious competition,” Shirook said.
Al Ahli’s run to the overall title came through victories in the men’s 800 metres, 5,000 metres and the 4x400 metres relay that was anchored by Shirook. Al Nasr, on the other hand, took the top honours in the men’s 100 metres and the 110m metres hurdles.