El Guerrouj within ace of world record

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The Independent Online

Hicham El Guerrouj proved he is still the undisputed master over 1500 metres by running the second-fastest time ever at an international meeting here last night.

World champion El Guerrouj had the capacity 46,500 crowd at the King Baudouin stadium enthralled and finished just 0.12sec outside his own world record time in 3mins 26.12sec.

The Moroccan, who moves up to 5,000m next year, was hunted to the line by Bernard Lagat, who finished 0.22sec later to set a Kenyan record.

Marion Jones, surprisingly beaten into second place in the women's 100m at the recent World Championships, won with her third fastest time of the year.

The American took the lead after 10 metres and never looked back to see how world champion Zhanna Pintusevich-Block was struggling. She crossed the line in 10.86sec. The Russian 5,000m world champion, Olga Yegorova, scored yet another victory over rival Gabriela Szabo and Briton Paula Radcliffe in the 3,000m.

Yegorova did not even wait until the final bend and started her famed finishing kick with 250m to go and finished in a relatively slow 8mins 30.09sec. Szabo finished fifth.

Kelly Holmes claimed she was back to her best after finishing second in the 800m. With 200m left, the world silver medallist Stephanie Graf seemed out of contention as Holmes battled it out with the world champion, Maria Mutola, but Graf slipped through on the inside of both Mozambique's Olympic champion and Holmes to score a narrow win in 1min 57.46sec.