15 FEB 2010 General News Birmingham, UK

Burka targeting indoor Mile record in Birmingham

Gelete Burka en route to her 3:58.79 PB in Hengelo (Jiro Mochizuki (Agence Shot))Gelete Burka en route to her 3:58.79 PB in Hengelo (Jiro Mochizuki (Agence Shot)) © Copyright
World indoor 1500m champion Gelete Burka heads to the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham with the one mile World indoor record in her sights.

Saturday’s Aviva Grand Prix is the penultimate stop on the nine meeting IAAF Indoor Permit series for 2010.

Burka, one of only four women to have ever run sub-four minutes over 1500m indoors, is in outstanding form following a series of impressive victories on the indoor circuit this year. In her two appearances over the distance this winter, Burka has clocked 4:03.92 and 4:03.44 en route to solid victories in Karlsruhe and Stuttgart, respectively.

“I’m looking forward to returning to Birmingham as it was at this venue in 2008 where I won the 3000m,” said Burka, who celebrates her 24th birthday today (15). “I ran against Helen Clitheroe in that race and I’m up against her again in the Mile this weekend.”

The Ethiopian is targeting the world record of 4:17.14, which was set by 1984 Olympic 800m champion Doina Melinte of Romania 20 years ago last weekend. Burka clocked an African record of 4:18.23 over the distance outdoors in Rieti in 2008.

“Training has been going really well and I’m feeling confident and positive about my current performance,” Burka said. “The crowd is always brilliant in Birmingham and that’s always great motivation so I’m hoping to run a good race and gain a second win at the NIA on Saturday.”

Fellow Ethiopian Kalkidan Gezahegne, the World junior silver medallist in the 1500m, is also hoping to impress the Birmingham crowd. The 18-year-old set a World junior best in the 1500m of 4:03.28 in Stockholm last week, currently the fastest performance of 2010.

Organisers for the IAAF