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Defar sets new 5,000 metres record

Written by: Staff
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NEW YORK, June 4 (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.

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 yesterday.

''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 Netherlands.

''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 15:24.01.

REUTERS PDS BST0810

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