Meseret Defar makes triumphant return in Boston

Meseret Defar (Photo: Andrew McClanahan)
Meseret Defar (Photo: Andrew McClanahan)

Two-time Olympic champion Meseret Defar of Ethiopia made a triumphant return from a layoff of nearly 2 1/2 years Sunday by winning the women’s 3 000 metres at the Boston Indoor Grand Prix athletics meet.

The four-time world indoor 3 000 champion had not competed since September of 2013 after delivering a baby daughter in 2014 and suffering a leg injury last year.

But the 32-year-old African made an impressive return by winning in 8mins 30.83secs, defeating US runner-up Abbey D’Agostino by 5.94 seconds.

“I feel very good today. I’m so happy,” Defar said. “Still I am good. I want to again win more medals.”

The only US event on the four-meet IAAF World Indoor Tour was a tuneup for next month’s World Indoor Championships at Portland, Oregon, and a status check for the Rio Olympics, still six months away.

Another Ethiopian, 19-year-old reigning world junior champion Dawit Seyaum, won the women’s 1 500 in 4:01.87, the fastest time in the world this year.

Reigning Olympic champions Jenn Suhr, 34, and Ashton Eaton, 28, fared far differently, with Suhr winning the women’s pole vault crown and world and Olympic decathlon winner Eaton coming last in the men’s pole vault and 60 metres.

Suhr, coming off a world record of 5.03m two weeks ago, cleared 4.88 to win but missed three tries at 5.07.

Eaton cleared 5.40, the same as third-place Mark Hollis and fourth-place Jeff Coover, but lost out to his US compatriots on fewer misses and then came eighth in the 60 in 6.74.

His wife, two-time world heptathlon runner-up Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Canada, was third in the 300 and long jump. They hope to become the first couple to win gold at the same Olympics representing different nations.

Two-time world indoor 60m hurdles champion Lolo Jones, coming off hip surgery, was fourth in the event in 7.99, well behind fellow American Brianna Rollins, who won in 7.87.

“Getting those first hurdles in at this time of year is great because it helps you get ready for outdoors,” Rollins said.

New Zealand’s Nick Willis, the 2008 Beijing Olympics 1 500 runner-up, won his third meet crown in a row in the mile in 3:53.27, a 2016 world best.

Ethiopia’s Dejen Gebremeskel won the men’s 3 000 in 7:42.94 with Australia’s Brett Robinson second in 7:44.29.

Mike Rodgers, the 2010 world indoor runner-up, won the men’s 60 in 6.53, edging 2015 world outdoor 100m bronze medalist Trayvon Bromell by .04.

English Gardner, the 2012 US college indoor champion, won the women’s 60 in 7.15.

“Very happy considering where I’m at in my training,” she said. “Everything is focused on Rio.”