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Ethiopia's Defar breaks women's 5,000 metres record

Meseret Defar broke the women's 5,000 metres world record with a time of 14 minutes 16.63 seconds at a Golden League meeting on Friday.

india Updated: Jun 16, 2007 15:42 IST
John Acher and Wojciech Moskwa
John Acher and Wojciech Moskwa

Ethiopia's Meseret Defar smashed her own 5,000 metres world record by nearly eight seconds and Jamaica's Asafa Powell cruised to a sub-10-second victory in the men's 100 at a Golden League meeting on Friday.

Defar clocked 14 minutes 16.63 seconds to better her previous world mark of 14:24.53 set in New York on June 3, 2006.

Kenya's Vivian Cheruiyot finished second in 14:22.51 ahead of compatriot Priscah Jepleting in third (14:44.51).

"Everything was perfect today," Defar said. "I knew I could break the record after two kilometres.

"I was thinking about 14:18-14:20... I didn't think I'd break the record by such a big margin."

The 23-year-old is the Olympic champion at 5,000 and also held world bests in the 3km and 5km road races last year.

World record holder Powell sped to victory in 9.94 seconds in the first Golden League meeting of the season.

He burst out of the blocks and led all the way to beat Francis Obikwelu of Portugal, who clocked 10.06 seconds.

Briton Marlon Devonish, who ran in the B race, placed third overall in 10.20 to squeeze out Nigeria's Olusoji Fasuba, the third-placed runner in the main event behind Powell.

"9.94 is a good time for today," Powell said. "Things are looking up for me.

"This was my second race of a long season...I am just coming back from a knee injury and I am faster than I was at this point last year," the 24-year-old added.

Powell, who shares the world record with Justin Gatlin of the United States, started the season with a time of 9.97 seconds for the 100 metres in Belgrade on May 29.


"The first phase (of the race) was very good. In the middle I wasn't feeling 100 percent," said Powell.

He declined to speculate on whether he would break the world record this season, saying he was fully focused on the world championships starting in August in Osaka, Japan.

Despite his world record in 2005 and two races in which he equalled the mark last year, Powell has not won a major world title. He was fifth in the 2004 Olympic final, and an injury kept him out of the worlds in Helsinki in 2005.

Victories at the Bislett Games set Powell, Defar and eight others on the way to a $1 million jackpot for an athlete who wins all six of their Golden League events.

Powell shared last year's jackpot with American 400 metre runners Jeremy Wariner and Sanya Richards.

Richards continued her dominance at that distance, winning her 20th straight race and setting her season's best time of 50.26 seconds, nearly a second ahead of Senegal's Amy Thiam. Jamaica's Shericka Williams was third.

Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva, the only woman to pole vault more than five metres and holder of more than 20 world records, won with a jump of 4.85 ahead of Poland's Monika Pyrek (4.60) and fellow Russian Tatyana Polnova (4.55).

Lithuania's twice Olympic and world champion Virgilijus Alekna won the men's discus with a throw of 70.51 metres to set a meeting record and extend an unbeaten run that began in 2005.

The next Golden League competition is on July 6 in Paris.

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