Defar lands in Istanbul with fifth Gold on her mind

Meseret Defar and Vivian Cheruiyot at the AAC Nairobi 2010 / Photo: Yomi Omogbeja

Ethiopia’s Meseret Defar will be chasing an unprecedented fifth consecutive Indoor gold medal at 3000m when the 9th IAAF World Indoor Championships kicks off in Istanbul this weekend (9-11 March).

Defar, who had won gold at every edition of the biennial championships since 2004, said in an interview in Boston last month: "With my third title, I equaled Gabriela Szabo's record. With the fourth title, I became the first woman to do it. This would be my fifth, and I will pray that God will help me."

Istanbul 2012 is on course to become the biggest gathering in terms of participating National IAAF Member Federations in the history of these championships, exceeding the previous record set four years ago in Valencia.

With 172 IAAF National Member Federations having entered athletes to compete at the Atakov Arena next week, Istanbul 2012 should surpass Valencia 2008 where 147 countries, also a participating record at the time, contested the event.

A total of 1,299 athletes and officials are also expected to attend what will be the IAAF’s most important event of the 2012 World Athletics Series.

More than 349 male athletes, 334 female athletes and 616 officials have indeed been entered following the 27th February deadline for Final Entries.

The World Indoor Championships, which were first contested under the guise of the World Indoor Games in Paris in 1985 when 69 nations took part, attracted 142 nations for their last edition in Doha 2010.

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