Women's 3000m Final: Hellen Obiri Stuns Meseret Defar
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
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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||.||
Obiri on Her Win
|4||659||Sylvia Jebiwott Kibet||KEN||8:40.50||(PB)|
|12||775||Alia Saeed Mohammed||UAE||9:15.74||.|
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