African smashes 10,000m record

ATHLETICS
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The Independent Online
ATHLETICS

PAUL COOK

reports from Hengelo

Haile Gebresilasie, an Ethiopian based in the Netherlands, took nearly nine seconds off the world 10,000 metres record here last night. Running the last 4,000 metres on his own, Gebresilasie clocked 26min 43.53sec to break the record set by the Kenyan, William Sigei, in Oslo 11 months ago.

It was the second world record Gebresilasie, the world champion at 10,000 metres, had set in nine days and the third of his career. He set a new mark for two miles in Kerkrade on 27 May, running 8min 07.46 sec. In the corresponding meeting last year, he set a world 5,000 metres record of 12min 56.96sec.

"I have been preparing for this race since the World CrossCountry Championships [in Durham] in March when I was very disappointed with my fourth place," said Gebresilasie.

The record has now been broken four times in three years. During that period, African runners have taken a staggering 25 seconds off the record, and on the last two occasions - firstly when Kenya's Yobes Ondieki took it under 27 minutes for the first time and then when Sigei lowered it to 26min 52.23sec last year - track experts predicted the marks would stand for many years to come.

Gebresilasie, who will not run another 10,000 metres until the World Championships in Gothenburg in August, was always on schedule to break the record. That was due to some excellent pace-making from Ireland's Paul Donovan, who had also assisted Sigei last year, and then his compatriot Worku Bikila. When Bikila dropped out, Gebresilasie was swept along by some inspirational support from the capacity 20,000 crowd.

The British star of the evening was Paula Radcliffe. The 21-year-old from Bedford convincingly disposed of Gebre- silasie's team-mate, the Olympic 10,000m and world cross-country champion Derartu Tulu, in her first serious attempt at 5,000 metres.

She ran 15min 02.87sec, the third fastest time in the world this year and a performance only Zola Budd and Liz McColgan have bettered among women representing Britain. Tulu, running the distance for the third time in nine days, was powerless to respond when Radcliffe kicked with 150 metres to go.

n Russia's Olga Kuzenkova set a world record in the women's hammer with a throw of 68.14m at an international competition in Moscow last night. She broke the previous record of Romania's Mihaela Melinte by more than a metre.

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