Meseret Defar Chasing Historic Fifth World Indoor Gold

Meseret Defar of Ethiopia is going for an unprecedented fifth straight 3000m title at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul in March, after taking gold at every edition of the biennial championships since 2004.

“With my third title, I equaled Gabriela Szabo’s record,” said Defar in an interview in Boston last Saturday where she competed in the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, clocking a world-leading 8:33.57 in the 3000m. “With the fourth title, I became the first woman to do it. This would be my fifth, and I will pray that God will help me.”

The Romanian Szabo won the 3000m titles in 1995, 1997 and 1999.

“I’m in great health and I trained very well before coming here,” Defar continued. “Starting the season this way has given me confidence.”

Defar’s husband Tewodros Hailu said at the time that she might contest the same distance in Karlsruhe next Sunday, and the websites of the meet and the German athletics association have since reported that she is scheduled to run there on February 12, and challenge the 2010 meet record of 8:41.24 set by Sylvia Kibet of Kenya.

The 5000m world silver medalist Kibet, and the 2009 world 10,000m medalist Meselech Melkamu of Ethiopia join Defar on the start list of the IHM Karlsruhe women’s 3000. The 2011 indoor world leaders Yenew Alamirew of Ethiopia and Augustine Choge and Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya are scheduled to contest the men’s 3000m there. Read More