23 SEP 2007 General News

Women's 3000m

After a slew of World records and World bests, her first World title and an undefeated season, Meseret Defar raced as though she wanted to get her 2007 campaign over as quickly as possible. And that’s precisely what the 23-year-old Ethiopian did with her captivating 8:27.24 gun-to-tape victory in the 3000 metres.

Taking control of the race from the gun, she upped the tempo throughout before covering the second half in just over 4:10 and the final kilometre in 2:45.22. But in Defar’s personal universe, the year’s second fastest performance wasn’t all that fast.

“Without a pacemaker, it’s difficult to run fast,” she said. “But 8:27 is still alright.” The world leader in the event after her 8:24.51 en route performance in Brussels nine days ago, Defar said she’s targeting 8:20 next year. With a 14:16.63 World record in the 5000 behind her, her target for the shorter distance is well within reach.

After one more outing –the 5000 in Shanghai on Friday—Defar is planning a brief getaway in Greece to celebrate what she describes as “a very special season.”

Behind her, Vivian Cheruiyot and Priscah Jepleting were pulled to an epic battle of their own, with the former prevailing after a stride-for-stride battle in 8:28.66 to the latter’s 8:29.06. Both were career bests, capping the Kenyan pair’s solid season. Cheruiyot was second behind Defar in her World record run in Oslo and again in Osaka. All three dipped under the previous competition record of 8:34.22 set by Defar last year.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF