Morceli's records still intact

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Noureddine Morceli was left with mixed feelings after seeing two of his world records survive at the Nice Grand Prix last night - especially since he wanted to break one of them.

Morceli watched with satisfaction as the Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj clocked 3min 30.32sec and failed to break the world 1500 metres record of 3:27.37 that Morceli set on this track two years ago.

But the Algerian Olympic 1,500m champion then failed to beat his own world mile record of 3:44.39. Morceli ran 3:48.64 - only the fifth-fastest time in the world this year - and well outside the record he set in Rieti nearly four years ago.

Morceli, however, could gain some measure of satisfaction in the final grand prix meeting before next month's World Championships in Athens with the emphatic style of his victory.

Morceli has looked out of sorts for most of the summer and, while not in the devastating form of recent years, he will still be in contention for gold in Athens.

Maksim Tarasov of Russia, the 1992 Olympic champion, had a night to remember when he became only the fifth man in history to clear 6.00 metres in the pole vault.

The Portuguese women, Fernanda Ribeiro and Carla Sacramento, both ran the fastest times of the year in their respective events - the 3,000m and mile. Ribeiro, the Olympic 10,000 champion, ran 8:37.14 in the 3,000, while Sacramento won a closely fought mile race in 4:25.00.

The Jamaican Merlene Ottey, who, at 37, will be hoping to retain her world 200m title next month, appeared to be in fine form winning her race in 22.47sec.