Defar Aiming For African 3K Record

Ethiopian wants to become the first African woman to go under 8:20.

Former Olympic and World 5,000-meter champion Meseret Defar of Ethiopia isn’t keeping any secrets to herself before Thursday night’s fully-loaded 3,000-meter race at the Athletissima meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, the seventh stop on this summer’s IAAF’s Diamond League tour.

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“For me a good time would be running under 8:20,” Defar stated quite matter-of-factly at Wednesday’s pre-meet press conference. “Yes, under 8:20.”

The African record is 8:23.23, held by Kenya’s Edith Masai. Another Masai, Linet — the reigning world 10,000-meter champion — is also in the race, along with her countrywoman Sylvia Kibet, the silver medalist in the 5,000 meters at last summer’s world championships. Defar, the indoor world record holder for 3,000 meters, ran 8:24.24 at Stuttgart this past winter. She is also the only woman in history to clock in under 9 minutes for the rarely-run 2-mile distance, posting an 8:58.58 three summers ago in Brussels.

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