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Defar races to new 5000m world mark

Meseret Defar of Ethiopia Yomi Omogbeja (10/06/2006)

Ethiopia's Olympic champion Meseret Defar has broken the World 5000m record at the 2006 Reebok Grand Prix meet in New York City's Icahn Stadium.

Defar stormed to a 61- seconds last lap to finish in 14:24.53*, striping off 0.15 seconds from the 14:24:68 previous world record held by Ethiopian-born Turkish star Elvan Abeylagesse.

The 22-year-old paced the 3000 metres in 8:42:8, then picked up a high speed turnover in the latter stages that left American Christin Wurth-Thomas who led through the first 2000m in 5:47.7 stranded.

Compatriot Workitu Ayanu finished second in 14:50.51 and American Sara Slattery was third in 15:24.01.

After the race, she fell to her knees in prayer, kissing the track in front of the appreciative crowd at the stadium on Randall’s Island in the East River.

"I knew that I could do it. When I was coming to New York, Haile (Gebrselassie) said to me, ‘You can break the World Record'.

"I don’t even know what I did. It was beyond my control," she said.

Defar, who is already the fastest woman ever over 5000m (5K) on the road (14:46), also rewrote the African record last August at the 29th Van Damme Memorial - IAAF/TDK Golden League meeting in Brussels where she won in 14:28.98, relegating compatriot's Berhane Adere's 14:29:32 mark to the history books.

She came very close to breaking the women's 3000m World Indoor record which she narrowly missed last year, running 8:30.94 to post the third-fastest time in history at the 2006 Reebok Boston Indoor Games in January.

Her time was bested only by Berhane Adere's four-year-old world record of 8:29.15 and Defar's own 8:30.05, also run at the same meet in 2005.

*Subject to IAAF ratification

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International Amateur Athletics Federation

African Athletics Confederation

Ethiopian Athletics

2006 Reebok Grand Prix

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See also: Defar upstages Kidane in New York Photo Gallery
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Last updated: 15-Jun-2006 0:34 AM

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