Patient Defar grabs 5,000m gold

Patient Defar grabs 5,000m gold
By Eurosport

23/08/2004 at 22:36Updated

Ethiopia's Meseret Defar proved patience is a virtue when she claimed Olympic gold in the women's 5,000 metres on Monday. Kicking decisively with 200 metres to go, Defar stormed home in a winning time of 14 minutes 45.65 seconds ahead of Kenyan Isabella O

Defar, the 2004 world indoor champion over 3000m, didn't let an unusually slow start affect her rhythm and remained in striking distance throughout the race.

With the tightly bunched field passing through the first 400 metres in a pedestrian 90 seconds, many runners fell couldn't handle the sudden surge of pace set by Chinese duo Sun Yingjie and Xing Huina.

Ireland's Sonia O'Sullivan, the 2000 Olympic silver medallist, was the first victim, immediately falling behind to eventually finish last.

At the halfway point it was Turkish world record-holder Elvan Abeylegesse's turn to charge into the lead and her effort quickly strung out the field.

Only Defar and Ochichi were able to go with her.

But with three laps to go, Abeylegesse, who hadn't raced since her record-setting performance of 14:24.68 in June, began to struggle and it became a two-woman battle for gold.

With Ochichi leading towards the final 200 metres, Defar attacked and Ochichi no reply. The Ethiopian raced away to her first Olympic title.

Ochichi came in for the silver in 14:48.19 with world champion Dibaba overhauling the tiring Abeylegesse for the bronze in 14:51.83.