MONACO • A pulsating race, run in searing heat, delighted a raucous crowd and delivered a world record many thought would not be broken for years to come.
Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba clocked 3min 50.07sec to win the women's 1,500m at Friday's Diamond League meet in Monaco.
The previous mark of 3:50.46 was set by China's Qu Yunxia in Beijing in 1993, under the guidance of controversial coach Ma Junren.
Six of Ma's athletes were later dropped from China's team for failing doping tests ahead of the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
Victory for Dibaba, 24, the two-time world indoor champion over the distance, never looked in doubt, aided by two pace-setters in perfect running conditions.
The record is, remarkably, her fourth currently held, but the first outdoor mark, and comes just a month before the World Championships in Beijing.
She also holds the world records for the indoor 1,500m, 3,000m and 5,000m, carrying on a family tradition that includes elder sister Tirunesh holding the world record in the outdoor 5,000m.
But the spotlight automatically turned to doping issues. "I knew that I could get this record, even if the 1,500m is complicated and a very tough race," she said. "Having done a 3:54 in Barcelona in July, I was confident I could do it.
"I am a dreamer - I don't think solely of beating records. In the future, the records over 1,500m, 5,000m and even 800m... I'd like to beat them."
Asked whether she feared the doping spotlight, Dibaba said: "I want to live my own history. I'm not interested in others.
"I work hard and I work to keep my private life separate. In any case, you cannot run without tests and preparation. I think I work hard to get there and I also think I can go further."
Dibaba explained that one of the main reasons behind her impressive form is that she trains with her male team-mates. "There's no doubt that is what brought me up to this level," she said.