Ethiopia’s Meseret Defar would have preferred to have raced over 5000m, the distance at which she has won consecutive Olympic and World titles, but she made the very best of the scheduled 3000m race at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Stockholm to win in 8:30.29, the world’s fastest time this year, on Thursday.
At the bell, Defar had her compatriot Genzebe Dibaba, the World 1500m finalist, on her shoulder, with the Kenyan who had followed her home for silver in the Luzhniki Stadium, Mercy Cherono, also close. However, Defar turned the screw as they entered the final bend and kept it down all the way to the line as she crossed five metres clear of Cherono, who clocked a personal best 8:31.23.
There were personal bests, too, for the next three women home. Ethiopia’s Sifan Hassan took third place in 8:32.53, Kenya’s Viola Kibiwot clocked 8:33.97 and fellow Kenyan, fifth-placed Gladys Cherono, was timed at 8:34.05.
“To be able to come and win just a few days after the World Championships is good,” said Defar. “I am so happy for this victory. I ran 14:50 at the World Championships, which is not fast for me, so I was able to run well tonight. I’m in good shape.”
The final race of the night, over 800m, involved Sweden’s World 1500m champion Abeba Aregawi but was conclusively won by Eunice Sum, the Kenyan who won the World title at that distance.