Kenyan Obiri upsets Ethiopia Defar's golden cart in Istanbul

Hellen Onsando Obiri poses after winning in Istanbul 2012/ Photo: PACE Sports Management

Kenyan Hellen Onsando Obiri stunned four-time champion, Meseret Defar in the women's 3000m at the 14th IAAF World Indoor Championships 2012 in Istanbul, denying the Ethiopian a fifth straight title in 8:37.16.

With 400m to go, Defar was on course and started to open a gap on her three pursuers, Kibet, Obiri and Burka. At the bell, she led Obiri, who had moved around Kibet into second place by three to four metres.
 
But Obiri started to close the gap on Defar around the bend. With 100 metres to go, she pulled even and then went past Defar, who by now - unlike a few weeks back when they met in Birmingham Grand Prix - was already spent, around the final turn.
 
"I'm so happy to win the gold medal, because it is my first win and also because I defeated Meseret Defar, who is 4-time world champion indoors," said Obiri at the mixed zone.
 
"I knew that Defar has a strong kick in the last 20m metres, that's why I had to make my move earlier, with 150m to go."
 
"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," she added.
 
A disappointed Defar, who had come to Istanbul looking for an historic fifth title, took the silver in 8:38.26 with compatriot Gelete Burka (8:40.18) taking bronze ahead of twice world championships silver winner, Sylvia Kibet (8:40.50) in fourth.
 
"I am very disappointed and very sad," said Defar. "The last 200m were very hard, I did not expect this. My feelings right now are very bad."
 
Obiri came into the limelight last year when she won the Kenyan championships at 1500m and was 11th at the World Championships in Daegu in the 1500m.
 
Istanbul 2012 marked Kenya's best ever performance at the World Indoor with two gold, one silver and one bronze, bettering the two silver and a bronze the country won two years ago in Doha.
 
The country's only other gold medal came through Olympics 800m men's champion, Wilfred Bungei at the 2006 edition in Moscow.
 

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