ATHLETICS: Gebrselassie eyes the record

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Gebrselassie eyes the record

Four times in the past five years Haile Gebrselassie has launched his summer track season with record breaking runs at the Fanny Blankers Koen Stadium in Hengelo, writes Simon Turnbull. The Ethiopian returns to the Dutch track today with his sights on the two mile record he lost to Daniel Komen of Kenya two years ago. Komen became the first runner to break the eight minute barrier when he clocked 7min 58.61sec in Hechtel, Belgium, in July 1997. Gebrselassie's coach-cum-mentor, Jos Hermens, organiser of this afternoon's grand prix II meeting, has arranged pacemaking assistance from Stephen Kreykamp, the Ethiopian who helped Gebrselassie break the world indoor 5,000m record in Birmingham in February. If Gebrselassie beats the clock again it will be the 16th world record for the 26-year- old, who returns to Britain to run in the Gateshead Classic meeting on 27 June. The Hengelo event features a strong British contingent, with Dwain Chambers and Julian Golding in the 200m and Steve Smith and Ben Challenger in the high jump. The field for the women's 5,000m includes Paula Radcliffe.