Athletics: Defar runs year's fastest 3,000 meter after long layoff

Sun Feb 14, 2016 8:13pm EST
 
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(Reuters) - Ethiopian two-time Olympic champion Meseret Defar ran the year's fastest 3,000 meters as she returned to the track for the first time in more than two years at the Boston indoor grand prix on Sunday.

The 2004 and 2012 Olympic 5,000 meters gold medalist romped to victory in 8 minutes, 30.83 seconds in her first race since 2013. The birth of her daughter in 2014 and injuries in 2015 had kept her off the track.

"I didn't have confidence after a long break, didn't know my shape, but running 8:30 in my first race - I'm so happy," said the 32-year-old.

Six other 2016 bests were set in the meeting including New Zealander Nick Willis' 3:53.27 victory in the mile and 19-year-old Ethiopian Dawit Seyaum's 4:01.86 in the women's 1,500 meters.

American Kurt Roberts upped the 2016 shot put best to 21.57 meters and compatriot Natasha Hastings delivered another top mark in the women's 300 meters, 36.25 seconds.

World indoor record holder Jenn Suhr won the women's pole vault at 4.82 meters before unsuccessfully trying three times at the highest mark ever cleared by a woman indoors or out, 5.07 meters.

"My first attempt felt really good up the pole, but I just didn't have the legs for it today," said the American, whose two-week-old indoor record is 5.03m. Russian Yelena Isinbayeva's outdoor record is 5.06m.

World outdoor champion Shawn Barber of Canada was upset by American Sam Kendricks in the men's pole vault, Kendricks jumping 5.77m to Barber's 5.67m.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Larry Fine)

 
Gold medallist Meseret Defar of Ethiopia waves at the women's 5,000 metres victory ceremony during the IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow August 17, 2013.  REUTERS/Grigory Dukor