Tirunesh Dibaba became the first woman to win the 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres double in the World Championships in Helsinki in August 2005. It completed a wonderful year for Dibaba who in March had become only the second woman to win both long and short races in the World Cross-Country Championships in St.Etienne, France.
A major feature of Dibaba's running style is an incredible sprint finish. During the final lap of the 10,000 metres, she was clocked over the closing 400 metres at 58.33 secs.
Growing up in the little town of Bekoji, home of distance runners like Kenenisa Bekele and her cousin Derartu Tulu, Dibaba used to enthuse over stories of Ethiopian victories in major championships and the Olympics. She moved to Addis Ababa in 2000 to live with a cousin, but arrived to late to register for high school. Instead of returning to her home town, her cousin enrolled her in the Prisons Police Sports Club, of which he was a member, and she began full time training. Within a year she qualified for the Ethiopian junior world cross-country team and finished fifth in Ostend.
The 19-year-old started the year as the reigning 5,000 metres World Champion and Athens Olympic 5,000 metres bronze medallist, a run which made her Ethiopia’s youngest ever Olympic medal winner. In 2005 in addition to her triumphs in the World Cross-Country Championships and the World Championships, she also knocked seven seconds off the world indoor 5,000 metres record in Boston.
Dibaba credits her improved performance this year to the consistency and fluidity of her training. She said: "I was totally focused on my training this year and was hungry for success more than ever. I did not increase the kilometres that I was running each day. I stuck with my usual programme, but did not allow myself to be interrupted by anything outside running."