Tirunesh Dibaba knows she cannot afford to dream about making Olympic history until she has achieved the qualifying time to secure her spot on Ethiopia’s team.
The 10,000-metre runner claimed gold in Beijing eight years ago, before retaining her title in 2012 in London with a season-best time of 30 minutes 20.75 seconds.
Were she to repeat the feat in Brazil, the 30-year-old would become the first athlete to win three Olympic gold medals over 10,000m and the first woman to win three successive Olympic titles in an individual event.
However, Dibaba has not competed since 2014 after giving birth to her first child in March 2015.
She makes her return to competition this weekend in Manchester and knows she needs to focus on qualifying for Rio before thinking about the Games.
“I have trained well and I expect to do well but I cannot exactly predict what I am going to do. I am going to do my best,” she told Athletics Weekly.
“In long distance, the 10,000 metres, there are very strong athletes – it is a challenge. It is going to be a big challenge.
“I haven’t thought about that [the Olympics]. It’s a long way because first we have to get the minimum [time] to qualify for the team.
“This is a very important Olympics because maybe it could be my last one. I am not sure. My big thing is to get there.”
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