Road To The Olympic Games

Geneviève Lalonde 11th in women's 3,000m final at indoor track worlds

Moncton's Geneviève Lalonde, coming off a indoor personal-best time of eight minutes 49.78 seconds in the women's 3,000 metres three weeks ago in Boston, finished 11th in 9:03.91 at the world indoor track and field championships on Thursday.

Canadian more than 13 seconds off PB; Ethiopia's Genzebe Dibaba wins 3rd straight title

Canada's Genevieve Lalonde never moved above seventh and fell off the pace late in the women's 3,000-metre final on Thursday, finishing 11th in a time of nine minutes 3.91 seconds at the world indoor track and field championships. (David Ramos/Getty Images)

It was a disappointing debut at the world indoor track and field championships for Moncton's Geneviève Lalonde, who finished 11th of 14 runners in the women's 3,000-metre final on Thursday in Birmingham, U.K.

Lalonde, coming off a personal-best time of eight minutes 49.78 seconds at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston three weeks ago, never moved above seventh at Arena Birmingham and fell back to 13th after 2,000m before crossing the line in 9:03.91.

Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia successfully defended her title, stopping the clock in 8:45.05, and has won three consecutive world indoor 3,000 races.

The Canadian finished 11th in the 3000m on Thursday at the IAAF World Indoor Championships. 1:02

Lalonde, 26, improved her own Canadian record in the 3,000 steeplechase outdoors at last year's world championships in London, England, placing 13th in 9:29.99. A month earlier, Lalonde won the event in 9:37.45 at the Canadian track and field championships in Ottawa.

"A learning experience," she said after Thursday's race. "I would have liked to have gone a little bit faster but we'll have to wait until next year."

One of 46 athletes named to represent Canada at the Commonwealth Games in April in Gold Coast, Australia, she finished 16th in the steeplechase at the 2016 Rio Olympics.​

"It was the best race to prepare for Commonwealth Games," Lalonde said of Thursday's competition in an interview with CBC Sports. "I was watching the [recent Winter Olympics] and getting really inspired, so I made the decision to come [to Birmingham]."

Dibaba took charge with 1000m left

Dibabe, who posted a world-leading 8:31.23 in Spain in mid-February, ran at the back of the pack early in Thursday's race and darted to second spot behind Germany's Konstanze Klosterhalfen a little past 1,000m. She assumed the lead with 1,000m remaining, with world 5,000 champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya, crowd favourite Laura Muir of Great Britain and Klosterhalfen close behind.

Dibaba increased her advantage by about four metres over reigning world indoor 1,500 champion Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands​ with two laps left before Muir and Hassan appeared to be closing the gap on the final lap, but Dibaba stayed strong.

Dibaba topped the podium in a time of 8:45.05, while Canadian Genevieve Lalonde finished in 11th. 10:11

"This is a great competition and the race was fantastic," Dibaba told reporters. "This day is for me and my country. … 2018 is my time."

The 27-year-old will double up for the first time at indoor worlds and compete in the women's 1,500, with heat races Friday and the final on Saturday. Canada's Gabriela Stafford and Kate Van Buskirk are also scheduled to race the 1,500.

Hassan was second in a season-best 8:45.68 and Muir third in 8:45.78, also a season best. The 23-year-old won the indoor European title in the 3,000 last March. Both athletes will compete in the 1,500.

The first of the track finals in Birmingham, Thursday's 3,000 was a straight final instead of the athletes progressing through rounds which is usually the case.

High jumper Lysenko exacts revenge

Danil Lysenko reversed his world outdoors result with Mutaz Essa Barshim by winning their world indoors high jump duel on his last leap on Thursday.

Lysenko, an authorized neutral athlete, and Barshim of Qatar cleared three heights on their first attempts and were the only two to attempt 2.36 metres.

Barshim, the IAAF male athlete of 2017, and Lysenko failed at their first two attempts. Barshim let out a roar before his third attempt but again failed. Lysenko asked for quiet from the Arena Birmingham crowd and — after a tense wait — soared over.

"This is the most important result of my career," the 20-year-old Lysenko said. "In London, it was tough. But here, it was really a pleasure to jump with these guys.

"This is unbelievable. Honestly, I did not expect to win and I did not think of it at all. I just tried to do my best."

Lysenko lost to Barshima at the world championships in London last year.

About the Author

Doug Harrison

Doug Harrison has covered the professional and amateur scene as a senior writer for CBC Sports since 2003. Previously, the Burlington, Ont., native covered the NHL and other leagues for Follow the award-winning journalist @harrisoncbc

With files from The Associated Press

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