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Ted S. Warren/Associated Press
One of the most anticipated entrants at this year’s Adidas Grand Prix track meet in New York on Saturday is Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia, the defending women’s Olympic champion at 5,000 and 10,000 meters and quite possibly the fastest finisher in the history of women’s distance running.
[Photo: Tirunesh Dibaba after winning the 10,000-meter event at the Prefontaine Classic on June 1.]
Dibaba, 27, is recovering from shin splints so severe they kept her out of competition every day of 2011 except the last, when she won the San Silvestre Vallecana 10-kilometer road race on New Year’s Eve, in Madrid. Last week, at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., she continued her comeback, running — and winning — her first outdoor track race in almost two years, at 10,000 meters, and she did it in dramatic fashion.
The race was effectively the Ethiopian Olympic trials at the distance. Dibaba was the favorite, but her stomach cramped two-thirds of the way through, causing her to clutch her side. “I’ve had that kind of discomfort in the past,” she said in an interview this week, “but this was worse. In fact, with about three laps left I began to wonder how I was going to finish.”