EXTRAORDINARY Ethiopian teenager Tirunesh Dibaba on Saturday became the first woman athlete in history to complete the 5,000m-10,000m double at the same world athletics championships.
The 19-year-old led home an Ethiopian clean sweep, as they had done in the 10,000m, on a day that saw several other athletes celebrate double titles.
Moroccan Jouad Gharib retained his marathon title while American Dwight Phillips held on to his long jump crown.
Phillips' compatriot Lauryn Williams won her second gold of the championships in the women's 4x100m relay while French 110m hurdler Ladji Doucoure also won a second title as France won their first ever world title in the 4x100m relay.
Yulia Pechonkina ascended into maiden title territory as Russia's world record holder finally translated that success into gold in the 400m hurdles while hosts Finland celebrated their first medal when Tommi Evila won long jump bronze.
Tanzania celebrated their first ever world championships medal as Christopher Isegwe took silver behind Gharib and Britain won their first medal of the 2005 event when the 4x100m relay team, Olympic champions last year, took bronze behind France.
Dibaba successfully defended her title and in the process rewrote the record books to become the dominant force in women's distance running with the promise of more to come.
“I'm very happy to make history,” said Dibaba. “I'm planning to do that again next time.”
Elder sister Ejegayabu took her second bronze of the championships to make it a family affair.
“I am happy and content with my medals but even more delighted with what Tirunesh has achieved here it is a success for her but also for our family,” said the 23-year-old.
Their success was rubberstamped by the manner in which they ran the race tactically and learning from the mistakes they made in the Olympic 10,000m final when they thought they had lapped the eventual winner Xing Huina.
This time she was left for dead on the final lap.
“We were cleverer this time round,” admitted Dibaba senior.
Marathon man Gharib too was impressive breaking clear just before the 30km mark and never to be challenged again.
The race took its toll with both the Olympic champion Stefano Baldini and the bronze medallist from Athens, Vanderlei di Lima failing to finish.
Gharib, 33, threatened to carry on and go for another gold in two years' time.
“I will see if I can continue and win a third title in Osaka in 2007,” said the former men's wear salesman, which would make him the first man to do so.
For Williams, victory in the relay meant redemption after last year's Olympics where a mix-up with former golden girl Marion Jones left the baton on the ground.
Williams said the victory was important not only to them but to the men's relay team, who had failed to make their final after they dropped the baton in the heats.
“The atmosphere was really bad after the men's race on Friday so it was important we came through and raised the morale,” said Williams.
“I always hoped for two gold medals the whole way through. This is particularly sweet after what happened in Athens last year.”
While Pechonkina produced a truly champion performance to make up for two minor medal placings in previous world championships, and last place in the Olympic final, there was an equally impressive showing by American bronze medallist Sandra Glover.
At 36, and the oldest member of the team, she ran a personal best to add bronze to the silver she won in 2003.
“I may be old, my legs might be tired but I'm still kicking butt,” said the veteran. – AFP