Hat-tricks for Defar and Isinbayeva – Yahoo News

March 8th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

Ethiopian long distance specialist Meseret Defar and Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva won their third consecutive world indoor titles.

Defar produced a devastating last-lap burst to see off compatriot Meselech Melkamu and complete a hat-trick in the women’s 3,000 metres, while Isinbayeva claimed her third indoor gold with a leap of 4.75 metres in the pole vault.

Jennifer Stuczynski of the United States also cleared 4.75 but had to settle for silver on the countback while Brazilian Fabiana Murer took the bronze.

Olympic and world 5,000 champion Defar ran a near perfect race, biding her time as she tucked in behind the leaders in the early stages and stepped up a gear just before the last lap to win in eight minutes 38.79 seconds ahead of Melkamu.

Morocco’s Meriem Alaoui Selsouli was third and Kenya’s Sylvia Kibet finished fourth.

“Today it was an easy race for me, because of that I didn’t have to run too fast,” Defar said. “It’s excellent preparation for the Beijing Olympics (in August).”

Sweden’s Stefan Holm went one better than Defar to notch his fourth indoor world title in the men’s high jump.

As expected the contest was a duel between reigning champion Yaroslav Rybakov and Holm. The 31-year-old Swede won with a clearance of 2.36 metres while the Russian only managed 2.34.

“It’s a fact as I get older it gets a bit harder to win medals,” said Holm. “But I’m really satisfied with my title and I’m still motivated.”

Ethiopia’s Derese Mekonnen crossed the line first in the men’s 1,500 but was disqualified together with New Zealander Nicholas Willis when the two barged into each other and Kenya’s Daniel Kipchirchir Komen was given the gold.

A huge roar went up from the crowd as Spanish duo Juan Carlos Higuero and Arturo Casado were promoted to second and third place respectively.

There were surprises in the men’s and women’s 60 metres hurdles with hot favourites Dayron Robles and Susanna Kallur making early exits.

Robles went out in the first round after being left on his blocks when the 21-year-old Cuban thought rival Liu Xiang had made a false start.

Swedish world record holder Kallur withdrew from the semi-finals of the women’s event after suffering a hamstring injury in the warm-up.

Liu took advantage of Robles’ absence to add the indoor title to his Olympic and outdoor crowns with victory in 7.46 seconds, while 37-year-old Allen Johnson crossed in second to add a silver to his extensive medal haul.

Yevgeniy Borisov of Russia and Latvia’s Stanislavs Olijars were awarded joint bronze medals after they could not be separated in the photo finish.

Lolo Jones took gold in the women’s hurdles in 7.80 seconds ahead of fellow American Candice Davis and Cuba’s Anay Tejeda.

World outdoor triple jump champion Yargelis Savigne added the indoor crown to her collection.

The Cuban snatched victory from Olympic silver medallist Hrysopiyi Devetzi of Greece with a final leap of 15.05 metres. Slovenia’s Marija Sestak was third.

South Africa’s Godfrey Mokoena overhauled early leader Chris Tomlinson of Britain to win the long jump with a fifth-round leap of 8.08 metres.

Asian champion Mohamed Salman Al-Khuwalidi of Saudi Arabia also broke the 8 metre barrier to take the bronze.

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