Defar smashes 2 mile world mark at Reebok Boston Indoor Games

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    Ryan
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    BOSTON – Meseret Defar of Ethiopia crushed a world best, while Craig Mottram of Australia broke a few records of his own Saturday night at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games, held at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury. The second stop of the 2008 Indoor Visa Championship Series, the Reebok Boston Indoor Games will be broadcast Sunday on ESPN2 from 3-5 p.m. Eastern Time. Beginning Tuesday morning, the meet will be available via Sportnet Webcast, linked from http://www.usatf.org.

    Already the world record holder outdoors in the 2 mile and 5,000m and indoors in the 3,000, Defar on Saturday went from running dead on record pace to well ahead of it, winning the Reebok women's 2 miles in 9:10.50 seconds, obliterating the previously world mark of 9:23.38 run by Regina Jacobs at this meet in 2002. It was the second time in as many years that a record set by Jacobs has been broken at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games, as Shalane Flanagan broke her 3,000m American record in 2007.

    With pacesetting provided through 1400m by Marina Muncan, Defar came through 800m (2:18) and 1,000m (2:52.2) exactly on record pace, with Kim Smith of New Zealand in tow and American Jen Rhines just a few meters back. By 1 mile, Defar was almost 2 seconds up on record pace, passing it in 4:38.4, and by 2000m was three seconds up (5:46). The Olympic gold and World Championship medalist at 5,000m, Defar simply steamrolled the record from that point on. Smith also finished under the record, in 9:13.94, with Rhines third in 9:35.29.

    In the men's 3,000m, Craig “Buster” Mottram broke Haile Gebrselassie's U.S. All-Comers record, and his own Australian national record. The two-time World Cup 3,000m champion, Mottram ran on his own in the late stages of the race, picking up speed before finishing in 7:34.50, to beat Gebrselassie's all-comers mark of 8:35.24, set here in 2004, as well as his own NR record of 7:39.24, run at this meet in 2007. Markos Geneti of Ethiopia was a distant second in 7:41.81.

    In the Mike Long women's 3000m, 2007 IAAF world athlete of the year Tirunesh Dibaba made an early run at the world record before falling off pace. She still finished in a very brisk 8:33.37, with her sister, Ejegayehu Dibaba second in 8:36.59.

    Visa Championship Series gets rolling

    The 2004 world indoor champion, Christian Cantwell won a four-man competition in the men's shot put. Cantwell, who will be inducted into the University of Missouri Hall of Fame next week, threw 20.97m/68-9.75 to prevail over reigning world indoor and outdoor champion Reese Hoffa (20.70m/67-11).

    2005 world outdoor 400m silver medalist Andrew Rock made his first race since getting married on October 6 a memorable one. Coming back from a 2007 season plagued by injury, Rock returned to his hard-closing form on Saturday, moving from third to first in the final 30 meters to win the men's 500 in 1:02.87, with Bayano Kamani second in 1:03.59.

    After an opening lap of 57.5 seconds, USA outdoor champion and new father Khadevis Robinson held off USA indoor champion Nick Symmonds to win the men's 800m in 1:50.92. Symmonds, who tried to overtake Robinson in the final straight, was second in 1:51.16.

    The men's mile provided the most exciting finish of the night. After leading for most of the race, 2004 USA indoor champion Rob Myers pushed for victory over the final lap. With one final step at the finish line, Pablo Solares of Mexico (by way of Rice University) claimed the win in 4:00.34, with Myers just .01 back in 4:00.35. In the Visa women's mile, Jenelle Deatherage came on strong in the last 200m to win in 4:32.95, with Lauren Fleshman second in 4:33.46.

    Stuczynski goes for AR

    Jenn Stuczynski, the #2 vaulter all-time outdoors, took a run at the American record in the Nutrilite women's pole vault. After clearing 4.60m/15-1, Stuczynski raised the bar to 4.82m/15-9.75, 1cm beyond Stacy Dragila's indoor AR of 4.81m/15-9.25. In her first major indoor competition, she missed the record but will have another chance Friday at the 101st Millrose Games, where her competitors will include Dragila herself, and throughout the remainder of the indoor season.

    American Lela Nelson, the 2007 Thorpe Cup heptathlon champion, nabbed somewhat of an upset in the women's long jump, winning the competition with a mark of 6.50m/21-4. Elva Goulbourne of Jamaica was second at 6.40m/21-0, with 3-time heptathlon world champion Carolina Kluft of Sweden third at 6.34m/20-9.75.

    DaBryan Blanton won a close Nutrilite 60 meters, edging out Demi Omole 6.65 to 6.67, while Miki Barber took the MBTA women's 60m in 7.27 over Brianna Glenn in 7.34. 2007 Cornell grad Morgan Uceny won the women's 800 in 2:05.75, Ashlee Kidd won the women's 200m wire-to-wire in 23.55, and Antwon Hicks took the Reebok men's 60m hurdles in 7.59, with Joel Brown second in 7.61.

    For his victory, Hicks was named Team USA Athlete of the Meet, Presented by Visa.

    In other action, Jillian Smith of Manahawkin, N.J., won the girls' high school mile in 4:48.83, Luke Puskedra of Ogden, Utah won the boys' mile in 4:08.77, and Kent Lemme of the Greater Springfield Track Club won the men's masters mile in 4:25.04. In exhibition relays, the Cambridge Jets won the youth 4x200m relay in 1:55.04 and Raytheon won the corporate sprint medley relay in 3:52.84.

    Athlete quotes – Reebok Boston Indoor Games

    Andrew Rock, men's 500m: “I'm happy with it. I wanted to come out my first meet of the year, get the motivation going and feel good, especially after what happened last year. I had a few injuries and tried to come back to soon, so I wanted to get back to what worked for me.”

    Morgan Uceny, women's 800m: “The goal was to win. Obviously I wanted to run an OK time, but winning was definitely the priority. It's a perfect starting point. The time wasn't great, but getting the win in the first meet of my first professional season is great.”

    Christian Cantwell, men's shot put: “It was good to get that one over quickly. I think we needed one more person in the competition to slow it down. Overall it was OK.”

    Khadevis Robinson, men's 800m: “I was a bit nervous about this 800, but I was able to do it. I just wanted to win. I want to work on different tactics this year. One of the things we're working on is to sit and kick. You have to practice it, and I wasn't practicing it before. I still want to win every race, but when I get in big races, I want to be able to sit and kick. I'm going back and remembering what I already know.”

    Jenn Stuczynski, women's pole vault: “In general, I think it was decent. I was a little nervous for this meet, with everything going on with [her new sponsor] Nutrilite, it was more expectations than I've ever had before. I'm pretty satisfied with it. [On her 3 American record attempts] The last one was my best. On my first two I was too tight. I was just trying to hard. I have to look at this as a start. It's the first competition of the year for me. From here I keep building.”

    Miki Barber, women's 60m: “It wasn't super fast, but I'm happy with it. I have to work on my start and driving longer into the middle of my race.”

    Rob Myers, men's mile second place: “It's my goal this year to start putting myself in position to win. I thought coming off the turn I had him. I obviously was tightening up just a little. I actually didn't feel that good today, I just ran aggressively. That's what I've got to do, no matter of how I feel.”

    Meseret Defar, women's 2 mile: “I wasn't running 100 percent. The outdoor (2 mile world record) was very fast.”

    Kim Smith, women's 2 mile: “I knew I was in good shape. It wasn't a very strong world record and I knew I could run under it. I trick to stick with her, but then she started running 33s (33-second laps).”

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