Defar Breaks Women's 5,000 World Record

AP Sports Writer
The Associated Press
Friday, June 15, 2007; 5:07 PM

OSLO, Norway -- Meseret Defar of Ethiopia broke her own women's world record in the 5,000 meters Friday by finishing in 14 minutes, 16.63 seconds at the Bislett Games, the opening meet in the Golden League.

The 23-year-old set the previous mark of 14:24.53 in New York last year.

In the men's 100, world record-holder Asafa Powell led throughout to win in 9.94 seconds under sunny skies and with a slight tail wind.

Vivian Cheruiyot was second to Defar in 14:22.51 and fellow Kenyan Jepleting Prisca Ngetich was third in 14:44.51.

"Everything was perfect today," Defar said. "I knew I could break the record after two kilometers. The pacemaker was great, and it was not a problem to continue with the pace alone because I've trained hard in the past few weeks."

Defar and the other front-runners were below world record pace the entire race. At the 2,000 mark, the leaders were five seconds faster, and at 3,000 more than seven seconds inside.

"I did not expect it could be so good," she said. "It's all due to my hard training and my health is great. I think I can even improve my time."

Defar's world record was the 53rd set at Bislett Stadium since 1924, and the first since the venue was rebuilt three years ago.

Powell's time was one hundredth of a second slower than the season's world best so far, the 9.93 run by Walter Dix last week at the NCAA track and field championships in California.

"I'm very happy with my time," Powell said. "It was very cold earlier in the week and I'm glad the weather changed."

Powell eased up near the finish, and finished 0.12 ahead of European champion Francis Obikwelu of Portugal. Marlon Devonish of Britain was third in 10.08.

Powell, who went undefeated last season, has 27 sub-10 races. Two weeks ago, the Jamaican clocked 9.97 in Belgrade, Serbia, in his return from a bout with knee tendinitis.

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