Sporting Digest

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Ireland's Sonia O'Sullivan will begin her build-up to the Athens world championships in August with a race over 1,500 metres in Oregon on 26 May. The world 5,000m champion, who will drop down a distance to 1,500m in Athens, said yesterday she would run five races only before the world championships. O'Sullivan, 27, won a silver medal over 3,000m at the world indoor championships in Paris in March. Later in the same month she finished ninth in the world cross country championships in Turin.

Marathon runners at the IAAF World Championships in Athens will follow the course of the original race and, for the first time, not finish in the main stadium. Greek organizers yesterday announced that the 42km (26.2 mile) race will start at the ancient town of Marathon and end at Athens' all-marble Panathenaic stadium, the site of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, where the opening ceremonies will also be held. 3,243 athletes from 145 countries will participate in the Athens Championships from 1- 10 August.