Women's 3000m Final: Hellen Obiri Stuns Meseret Defar

By LetsRun.com
March 11, 2012

Four time defending champion Meseret Defar was clear of the field on the final lap seemingly on her way to her 5th straight 3000m title at the World Indoor Track and Field Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. Then the unthinkable happened. The unheralded Hellen Obiri found another gear, bridged the gap with Defar and sprinted to her first World title, making Defar settle for silver as Gelete Burka got bronze.

How the Race Unfolded

Hellen Clitheroe took the field through the 1000m, but Defar started the real racing before the 1600 (4:48.03), increasing the tempo. Soon it was an All-African affair with Defar leading followed by her nemesis Sylvia Kibet (Kibet has finished 1 spot ahead of Defar at the last 2 outdoor championships), Obiri, Gelete Burka of Ethiopia and Shitaye Eshete of Bahrain via Ethiopia.

After 2000m (5:56.31) Defar looked over her shoulder to see who she had dropped. No one yet, but Eshete would be the first to succumb.

Highlights of the Women's 3000m
(UK Visitors Click here)

Defar kept increasing the pace and with 400m to go started to open a gap on her three chasers of Kibet, Obiri, and Burka. At this point Obiri moved around Kibet and chased after Defar. Defar's increased the pace even more slightly and the lead got slightly bigger and at the bell she led Obiri by 3-4 meters.

Obiri was not giving up and she started to close the gap on Defar around the bend. On the backstretch she pulled even with Defar and then went by her heading around the final turn. Defar is known for her stunning kick, but her push for her home had taken everything out of her. Obiri glided home for the win, Defar was second and much farther back Burka and Kibet were battling for the final medal. Burka prevailed.

Neither American was a factor as Sara Hall was 8th (8:59.95) and former NCAA Champ Jackie Areson (9:12.50) was 11th in her first time representing the US.

Quick thoughts: The last 1500m was in 4:06.6. That was quick enough for a silver medal in the women's 1500m final on Saturday.

Hellen Obiri may be the next Kenyan star. Last year was her first year to run internationally and she won the Kenyan champs at 1500m and was 11th at Worlds in the 1500m. This is the first year she's ever run anything about 1500m. She's never run a 5000m, so for London she'll make a go at 1500m. Here's what Obiri said of 2011 and her plans for the Olympics to the IAAF, "In 2011 I didn't perform well. I hope 2012 will be my year. I hope to do something in the 1500m at the Olympic Games."

Meseret Defar getting beat here seems to be a shocker. She beat Obiri by nearly 4 seconds in Birmingham. However, remember that was the 2nd 3000m in Obiri's life. Worlds was her third and fourth time EVER to run 3000m. With today's race Obiri has now run as many 3000m races in her life as Defar has world titles.

1 660 Hellen Onsando Obiri KEN 8:37.16 .

1500m Defar 4:30.5
1600m Defar 4:48.03
2000m Defar 5:56.31
2200m Defar 6:29.6 (33.3)
2400m Defar 7:02.69 (33.1)
2600m Defar 7:35.2  (32.5) (Defar starts to open gap on field)
2800m Defar 8:07.39 (32.2)
3000m Obiri 8:37.16 (29.8 for leader to leader. Obiri was back at the bell so probably split 29.3. Defar ran 31.1 the last lap)
The last 1500m was 4:06.6

Obiri on Her Win

2 585 Meseret Defar ETH 8:38.26 .
3 584 Gelete Burka ETH 8:40.18 .
4 659 Sylvia Jebiwott Kibet KEN 8:40.50 (PB)
5 539 Shitaye Eshete BRN 8:51.88 .
6 700 Lidia Chojecka POL 8:56.86 .
7 595 Hellen Clitheroe GBR 8:59.04 .
8 804 Sara Hall USA 8:59.95 .
9 788 Nataliya Tobias UKR 9:00.78 .
10 787 Svitlana Shmidt UKR 9:03.99 .
11 796 Jackie Areson USA 9:12.50 (SB)
12 775 Alia Saeed Mohammed UAE 9:15.74 .

More Worlds:

Men's 3000m Final Lives Up to the Hype as Lagat Kicks to Gold World 5000m champion Mo Farah squared off with two-time world indoor champion Bernard Lagat and 2012 World leaders Augustine Choge and Edwin Soi of Kenya. They were all in contention on the final lap. There was some contact and two guys ran on the infield but XXXX was clearly best today. We recap and analyze the action but are obscuring the winner in case people want to watch the race without knowing the result.

LRC 800s: Pamela Jelimo is Back as USAs Erica Moore Gets Bronz, 18 Year Old* Mohamed Aman Gets Gold The last time Pamela Jelimo was any good Erica Moore wasn't an 800m runner. They both left Worlds pleased as Moore made her first sub 2:00 clocking count with a bronze medal. In the men's race, 18 year old* favorite Mohamed Aman got gold.

IAAF Final Day Recap: Brittney Reese Is Indredible, Aries Meritt upsets Liu Xiang, Will Claye Wins Brittney Reese had her back to the wall in the long jump, so what did she do? Unleash a jump that made her #3 all-time to win.


LRC Saturday: Iguider Wins Thrilling Men's 1,500m, Dibaba Lives Up To The Hype, Ashton Eaton, Sanya Richards Ross, Chaunte Lowe And Justin Gatlin (Uh) Get Gold World Record And $90,000 For Eaton A tremendous day of action and a good one for the USA. We break it down, including the men's 1,500m, where Abdalaati Iguider ruined the coming out party of Ilham Tanui Özbilen in an exciting race that saw Matt Centrowitz challenge for the lead. Genzebe Dibaba dominated the women's 1,500, showing she's the real deal. Plus Sanya Richards Ross, Chaunte Lowe and Justin Gatlin are all back from various ailments, some self inflicted, some not. Not to mention a super-tight long jump and a gold by a 39-year-old married to a former heroin dealer.

IAAF: Pentathlon World Record! - Natallia Dobrynska Dobrynska Tallies 5,013 Points


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