Athletics: Record holder's Palace quest

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The Independent Online
HAILIE GEBRSELASSIE, of Ethiopia, may take aim at the world two mile record at the IAAF Grand Prix in London on 7 August after missing out on Sunday.

The world 5,000 and 10,000 metres record holder admitted he was annoyed that the attempt he made at Hengelo, in the Netherlands, fizzled out even before the half-distance was reached. Now Gebrselassie is hoping he can make amends when Crystal Palace plays host to an international meeting for the first time since 1995.

Fast Track, the promoters of British athletic meetings, has accepted it may have to accommodate the race in its timetable. "Our plan was to put on a 3,000 metres or two miles with Hailie the main attraction," its spokesman, Jon Ridgeon, said. "We will look into what we can do for Hailie."

After a few lean years in athletics, a world record attempt by the world's greatest distance runner will be too good an opportunity to miss for the promoters, particularly as the Ethiopian is making an attempt on the 3,000 metres record in Helsinki a week tomorrow.

After failing to beat Daniel Komen's 1997 mark of 7min 58.61sec in Hengelo, Gebrselassie, who ran 8:01.66, admitted that he was frustrated at the failure. "I felt so silly. It is a tough record but I felt I was in shape to run 7:55 or 7:56. The pacemaking wasn't right," he said. "The first one was all right but the second rabbit lost it. It was my own fault. I should have gone to the front much earlier."

Before the Palace event, Gebrselassie has another appointment in this country. He is scheduled to run the mile at the Gateshead Games on 24 June. The Ethiopian is looking forward to taking on Britain's best runners at the distance, including the current No 1 John Mayock.

"Your country has always had good milers," Gebrselassie said. "At the moment that is not the case but there are still some good ones. I will be looking for a fast time and a good race and I want to win my first one over the distance."