Radcliffe leaves it late to decide on 10,000m run

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The Independent Online

Paula Radcliffe's name is on the starting list for tonight's 10,000 metres final. Whether the letters DNS - Did Not Start - eventually end up next to her name depends upon how capable she feels of resetting her Olympic ambitions after her failure in Sunday's marathon.

Paula Radcliffe's name is on the starting list for tonight's 10,000 metres final. Whether the letters DNS - Did Not Start - eventually end up next to her name depends upon how capable she feels of resetting her Olympic ambitions after her failure in Sunday's marathon.

It is a decision which will go a long way towards defining her career; and it is a hard one.

By her own admission, Radcliffe came to Athens with only one aim - to win the marathon. Competing over 25 laps, rather than 26 miles, would have required a different, more speed-based preparation in the last few weeks.

She will also arrive at the track having run 22 miles more than any of her opponents.

And although Ethiopia's world champion Berhane Adere is absent, there are three of her compatriots who would offer Radcliffe a torrid challenge even if she had arrived here solely for a track race - Ejegayehu Dibaba, second behind the Briton in this year's rankings with 30min 43.39sec, Werknesh Kidane, whose 30:07.15 is the fourth fastest of all time, and the defending champion, 32-year-old Derartu Tulu.

Add to that field the Netherlands' naturalised Kenyan Lorna Kiplagat, who beat Radcliffe in the Osaka Ekiden Relay this year, and China's Yingjie Sun, whose 30:07.20 is the fifth-best ever run.

But Radcliffe is not carrying a significant injury, and has been training twice a day, so must be seriously considering taking part - she would surely have left the Olympic Village by now if she was not.

Radcliffe has until an hour before the race begins, at 19.50 tonight, to commit herself, although she will not leave it that late. Can she face another ordeal? Will she feel better if she tries for the "redemption" she spoke of so longingly after the marathon? Only she knows.

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