June 3, 2006

Defar sets new 5,000 metres record

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ethiopia's Meseret Defar made light of
wet conditions at New York's grand prix meeting to break the
women's 5,000 metres world record on Saturday.

The Olympic 5,000m champion improved her personal best by
over four seconds to win at the Icahn Stadium in 14 minutes
24.53 seconds to eclipse the previous best of 14:24.68 set by
Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey in 2004.

"When I saw the one lap to go split, I was very confident,"
Defar told reporters through an interpreter.

"I'm very happy with this year. I will try to break the
record again. I know I can do it."

Defar, who was pipped to the world title by compatriot
Tirunesh Dibaba in Helsinki last year, said she had been
working with Haile Gebrselassie during a training camp in the

"He encouraged me. He said, 'I know you can break the
record,"' she added.

Already the African record holder, Defar said she would
compete in five more Golden League meetings this season over
either 5,000m or 3,000m.

"I hope I win all of them," she said.

Workitu Ayanu of Ethiopia finished second in 14:50.51 with
American Sara Slattery some distance back in third with