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Defar crowned World's best athlete

Meseret Defar of Ethiopia Yomi Omogbeja (26/11/2007)

Ethiopia's Olympic 5000m champion and World record-holder, Meseret Defar has been awarded the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Female Athlete of the Year title for 2007.

Defar underlined her talent this season by winning all her races, including two World records and a World best time in Boston earlier in the year.

Her outstanding achievements during the past season saw her win her first World title over the 5000m in August at the 11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics, Osaka, Japan.

An elated Defar dedicated her award to her husband for his support and told reporters: " I don’t have words to describe how happy I am.

"This is very special for me. This is very special for Ethiopian women. Those who struggle very hard and who don't have very many opportunities to achieve the highest levels of athletics. So I dedicate this award to them."


The 23-year-old smashed the World 5000m record at the ExxonMobil Bislett Games in Oslo last June, slashing her existing mark (14:24.53 set in New York, 3 June 2006) by almost eight seconds to finish in a stunning 14:16.63.

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.

However, a month later on 3rd February, she did broke the 3000m record with a 8:23.72 clocking at the 21st edition of the Sparkassen Cup at the Stuttgart’s Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle in Germany.

American Tyson Gay, the double World sprint champion, won the World Male Athlete of the Year award, while Jamaican Asafa Powell and Croatian Blanka Vlasic took the 2007 Performances of the Year award for the 9.76s World record breaking performance in Rieti and 2.07m third all-time best clearance in Stockholm respectively.

Complete list of 2007 winners

World Athletes of the Year
Male Winner: Tyson Gay    USA
Female Winner: Meseret Defar   ETH

Performances of the Year
Male Winner   Asafa Powell   JAM
Female Winner   Blanka Vlasic   CRO

Hero of Athletics Award 
Carl Lewis   USA

Inspirational Award  
Paula Radcliffe   GBR
Haile Gebrselassie  ETH

Newcomer of the Year 
Donald Thomas  BAH 

Rising Star Award  
Ruth Bisibori Nyangau  KEN

Coaches’ Award  
Vitaly Petrov   UKR 

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Related links

International Amateur Athletics Federation

African Athletics Confederation

Ethiopian Athletics

See also: Defar upstages Kidane in New York Share
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Last updated: 27-Nov-2007 1:01 AM

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