Dibaba To Make Comeback In Manchester

Great Comeback 1

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TRIPLE Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba will make her comeback at the Great Manchester Run as she targets an unprecedented third gold medal in a row in the 10,000M in Rio this summer.

Dibaba took the 2015 season off after giving birth to son Nathan Sileshi last March, and will return to competitive action on May 22, with Manchester’s Greatest Run the first step on the road to Rio.

The Ethiopian 5,000M and 10,000M Olympic champion in Beijing successfully defended her 10,000M title in London and will look to make it three in a row in Brazil – bidding to become the first athlete to have won three gold medals over the 10,000m distance.

And victory in Manchester this May will give the 30-year-old another treble – having won the Great Manchester Run in 2013 and 2014.

Dibaba’s 30 minutes 49 seconds in 2013 is the female course record for the Great Manchester Run, and she said of her comeback: “I'm very excited to return to the Great Manchester Run.

“I have competed there many times, I have always enjoyed it and it will be the perfect race for me to begin my preparations for winning a gold medal in Rio.”

Dibaba faces competition from a fit-again Gemma Steel and fresh-legged Edna Kiplagat in the IAAF Gold Label race in the North-West.

Steel negotiated an injury and illness-hit year back on track with victory in the BM10K in Brighton last week, and aims to continue her return to form with a strong run in Manchester.

The European Cross Country champion has recovered from a foot injury and a chest infection, which forced the 30-year-old to pull out of the World Half Marathon in Cardiff last month, after finishing a disappointing 12th in the World’s Best 10K in Puerto Rico in February.

As a result, Steel will not be vying for selection in the Olympic Games in Rio at either the half-marathon or the 10K distance.

Instead, she will be focusing her efforts on the European Half Marathon Championships in Amsterdam in July, for which she believes Manchester will be a perfect stepping stone.

"It has been tough over the last couple of months, with the disappointment of missing the World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff,” said Steel, who has won Great Run events in Ireland, Gateshead, Birmingham and Yorkshire, and whose 10K PR of 31.26 at the 2014 Beach to Beacon 10K places her third in the all-time female 10K list behind Paula Radcliffe and Liz McColgan.

“I’m feeling a lot better, and my training is starting to pick up, so I’m getting back to where I need to be.

“There’s a lot of competition in Manchester but I always look forward to this event and it will be a good marker for how my preparations are going, with the European Half Marathon Championships in Amsterdam high up on the agenda.”

Kenyan distance running legend Kiplagat, meanwhile, is waiting on news regarding her selection to the Kenyan Olympic marathon team.

The 2011 and 2013 IAAF World Marathon champion finished third in the Tokyo Marathon in February, one of several races designated as Olympics trials by Kenya, along with last weekend’s London Marathon.

“The goal is to be selected for the Olympics, and now I must wait having achieved a good result in Tokyo,” said the 36-year-old.

“There is plenty of competition among Kenyan marathon runners and I have done all I can.

“I always enjoy running the Great Manchester Run, and it will be a good test of my fitness and preparations, looking ahead to the Olympics.”

To book your place in the Great Manchester Run, visit here