Athletics: Morceli's target is 10 world records

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The Independent Online
NOUREDDINE Morceli, flushed with success after setting a new 3,000 metres world record of 7min 25.11sec in Monte Carlo on Tuesday night, intends to dominate middle distance running in the manner of that other hugely talented African athlete, Said Aouita, writes Mike Rowbottom.

The 24-year-old Algerian, who already holds the world mile and 1,500 metres records, demolished the 7min 28.96sec record of Moses Kiptanui, of Kenya, to add a third.

'It was a perfect night, there was a very nice breeze, just perfect for a record,' he said after setting the sixth official world record of 1994.

'I can break 10 world records,' he added after claiming his latest with a last lap of 55 seconds. 'Personally, I think I can run the mile in 3:34 and improve all the others up to 5,000m.'

Aouita set five world records during his heyday in the 1980s: the 1,500m, 2,000m, 3,000m, two miles and the 5,000m. Morceli plans to become the third man inside 13 minutes for the 5,000m when he runs at the Weltklasse meeting in Zurich on 17 August.

Tuesday's record attempt was superbly stage-managed. A year ago at the same meeting, Morceli missed breaking the 3,000m mark by just 0.28sec. This time he began more cautiously and had the Ethiopian 5,000m world record holder, Haile Guebre Silasie, for company until the final 500 metres.

The former javelin world record holder, Fatima Whitbread, is planning a comeback - four years after retiring through injury, it was reported yesterday. The 33-year-old, who set the world record in 1986 and won the world title a year later before being forced out with back and shoulder problems, expects to get the all-clear by specialists later this month.