Defar shades Cheruiyot


DOHA, March 13 – Ethiopian Meseret Defar won a record fourth consecutive women's world indoor 3000m title on Saturday.

Defar, who won Olympic 5000m gold at the Athens Games and a bronze in Beijing, clocked 8min 51.17sec.

"I’m very happy with this race and my fourth gold medal," she said. "It was an easy victory for me because the pace was slow.

"I changed my tactics. I was thinking about a fast race but then I saw it would be better to wait with the final kick. That worked well."

The Ethiopian, who also won world outdoor 5000m gold in 2007, finished 0.68sec ahead of Kenyan world 5000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot in silver.

Defar’s team-mate Sentayehu Ejigu took bronze at 0.91sec.

Defar was happy to bide her time, sitting on the coat-tails of Portuguese frontrunners Jessica Augusto and Sara Moreira.

Augusto pushed the pace with eight laps to go, taking Kenyan Sylvia Kibet with her as the field began to string out.

Defar, Ejigu and Cheruiyot moved to the front with two laps remaining, and the pace stepped up a gear.

Come the final bend at the Aspire dome and Defar produced one last decisive kick to storm home in front of a crowd swelled by a large and vociferous Ethiopian contingent.

"I’m happy I pleased the crowd," said Defar, adding that her season target was now the newly-launched IAAF Diamond League and world records in the 5000 and 10,000m currently held by her compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba.

Cheruiyot complained that the race had not been smooth.

"In the last 1500m there was a lot of pushing. But I am very happy for this medal and I am satisfied with silver."

Ejigu admitted that the Ethiopian team had been under pressure after their failure at the hands of the Kenyans at the world outdoors in Berlin last year.

"There was a lot of tension at the beginning because there were a lot of expectations for us to get over Berlin," she said.

"We had a plan with Meseret to counter the Kenyans and I am so happy that Meseret won the race. I am just so happy Ethiopia got the gold."