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Defar, Isinbayeva complete Indoor Worlds hat-tricks
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Ethiopian long-distance specialist Meseret Defar and Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva won their third consecutive world indoor titles on Saturday.

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

Olympic and world 5,000m 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 told reporters. "It's excellent preparation for the Beijing Olympics."

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 2.36m, 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 Deresse Mekonnen had an anxious wait before finally being adjudged to have won the men's 1,500m.

He crossed the line first in 3 minutes, 38.23 sec but was initially disqualified for stepping off the track after colliding with New Zealander Nicholas Willis. However, the appeals jury decided the Ethiopian was not at fault and he was later reinstated as the winner while Willis remained disqualified.

In the men's and women's 60m hurdles hot favorites Dayron Robles and Susanna Kallur made 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 of China had made a false start.

Swedish world-record holder Kallur withdrew from the semifinals 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.

(Agencies via China Daily March 10, 2008)

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