Pole puts Barcelona mishap behind him

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Robert Korzeniowski gave Poland their first athletics gold medal in 16 years when he performed superbly yesterday in the streets in muggy, overcast conditions to win the 50km walk.

Korzeniowski, who was disqualified in the same event in the Barcelona Games four years ago for "lifting", completed the circular course in 3hr 43min 30sec, having finished eighth in the 20km walk a week ago.

The European 20km champion Mikhail Shchennikov, of Russia, finished 16 seconds behind Korzeniowski after winning a duel with the former world champion, Valentin Massana of Spain, who took the bronze in 3:44:19.

Korzeniowski is almost certainly unique as far as Olympic champions go. He trained every day for the Games in two different countries. "I woke up in France where I had my breakfast and then walked across the border into Belgium for the morning, then back to France for lunch," he explained.

"But I don't just train in Belgium and France, I like to move around. I've been to Portugal, up to the high altitude of Johannesburg and, of course, to Poland.

"The sports scientists say that all the travelling isn't good for me but my success today and the success I have had before proves that I am doing something right."