Athletics: Yelling makes Athens

On her marathon debut in Berlin yesterday, Liz Yelling easily achieved the qualifying standard for next summer's Olympics and her training partner, Paula Radcliffe, was the first to congratulate her.

Yelling ran a time of 2hrs 30mins 58secs when finishing eighth at the Real Berlin Marathon and Radcliffe, the world record holder, who was watching the race on the internet, was very impressed.

"She was really delighted and actually rang me back a second time to tell me again how chuffed she was," said Yelling, who, like Radcliffe, lives in Loughborough.

Yelling had singled out the Berlin race as the perfect place to try to qualify for the Olympic Games in Athens and she came home just over one minute under the mark.

The race favourite, Yasuko Hashimoto, became the fourth successive Japanese athlete to win the title in 2:26:32m.

Yelling made two unscheduled toilet stops and said: "I'll just have to look at my diet again. I probably had too many power bars and carbohydrates on Saturday."

The part-time schoolteacher added: "Now I've got the qualifying time, I can plan to go abroad and do warm-weather training and some work at altitude."