Meseret Defar is one of history’s most highly decorated athletes with three Olympic medals (two gold), four World Championships medal (one gold), six World Indoor championships medals (four gold) , four African Championships medals (one gold) plus great success as a youngster with dual gold medals at IAAF World Junior Championships. In a dazzling career Defar, has also broken the world 5000m record on two occasions and still holds the World Indoor records at 3000m and 5000m
The Bislett stadium will hold special memories for Defar, on June 15 in 2007 she took to the start line for the 5000m in what was a widely publicised world record attempt. Spurred on by knowledgeable Oslo fans it was obvious from many laps before the finish that Defar was on the verge of something truly spectacular. Defar went on to smash her own world record by almost eight seconds in a time of 14:16.63. It was truly memorable experience for the athlete and fans alike. There is always a competitive challenge in distance races at Bislett stadium however she will experience enormous crowd support for those who remember only too well her heroics at the track in ‘07. In this year’s ExxonMobil Bislett Games her main challenge will come from another Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba who is the younger sister of Meseret’s greatest rival Tirunesh Dibaba and recently prevailed over Defar in the Shanghai Diamond League race.
In the absence of another Bislett favourite, Vivian Cheruiyot (motherhood), the Kenyan challenge will be led by the former IAAF World Junior Champions Mercy Cherono and Viola Kibiwot
Considering the way Defar outpaced her rivals to convincingly win the London Olympic 5000m final there is still much to come athletically speaking from the twenty-nine-year-old from Addis Ababa.