Athletics: Ngugi is found wanting for pace

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John Ngugi, competing for the first time since his four-year doping ban, finished 26th in yesterday's Great Caledonian 10km Run at Edinburgh in a time only 16 seconds faster than that of the women's winner, Liz McColgan. As comebacks go, it was hardly one to rank with Eric Cantona's.

But the 33-year-old Kenyan, who won the Olympic 5,000 metres gold medal in 1988, was returning to competition sooner than he would have wished. He had planned to start racing in December, before seeking a record sixth world cross-country title next year, but was persuaded otherwise by his agent, John Bicourt.

"I need another four weeks before I'll be racing properly," said Ngugi, who is due to run in another Bupa-sponsored event next Sunday, the Great South Race over 10 miles.

On a day of fierce winds, Ngugi recorded 32min 11sec; far ahead of him Gary Staines held off fellow Briton Andrew Pearson to win in 28:44.

McColgan, who won the Great North Run two weeks ago, finished in 32:27. "It was hard going," she said. "But I enjoyed running with the men and everything seems to be on course." McColgan plans to run the Tokyo Marathon next month.

n Paula Radcliffe was beaten by 0.6sec in Saturday's Fifth Avenue Mile in New York as Ireland's Sinead Delahunty won in 4min 25.2sec.

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