Defar falls short of 5th straight indoor title

Istanbul: Meseret Defar fell short of becoming the first woman to win five straight world indoor titles when Hellen Obiri of Kenya came from behind on the final lap to win the women`s 3,000 meters Sunday.

Defar took the lead halfway through the race and seemed in control until Obiri appeared out of the blue on the outside. The Ethiopian champion tried for one final kick to stay with Obiri, but she fell even farther back on the final straight.

"I didn`t expect it. I am confused," Defar said.

In the men`s race, American Bernard Lagat won his third 3,000 world indoor title, breaking free with 100 meters to go to beat Kenyan rivals Augustine Choge and Edwin Soi.

Mo Farah was the favorite, but he failed to get on the medal stand and finished fourth. The Briton beat Lagat in a stirring 5,000 finish at the world outdoor championships in August.

At 37, Lagat still has the finishing kick of runners half his age.

"It is not dying away," he said.

Lagat knew the Kenyans would set the pace, so he didn`t fall back and risk being surprised by a sudden breakaway. So when the final surge came, he was prepared.

Lagat said he thought to himself: "I am going to stay here because those guys are strong."

In the women`s long jump, American Brittney Reese set a championship record of 23 feet, 8¾ inches on her last attempt to push teammate Janay Deloach to silver at 22-10¾. Shara Proctor took bronze with a British record of 22-7¼.

"I decided to get my confidence up and get the crowd involved," Reese said of her final attempt. "My coach told me to go and get it, and I went out and got it. I had to go out and bust the big one."

Lagat and Reese pushed the U.S. gold medal haul to seven overall early in the final day. No other nation has more than one.

In the women`s 800, 2008 Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo put years of physical problems behind her. The Kenyan finished in a world-leading 1 minute, 58.83 seconds to beat Nataliya Lupo of Ukraine and Erica Moore of the United States.

Bureau Report