Athletics: Radcliffe and Tulu to renew rivalry

David Martin
Saturday 13 September 2003 00:00 BST

Paula radcliffe will continue her return from injury and illness when she competes in the Flora Lite 5km race in London's Hyde Park tomorrow. The world marathon record holder showed all of the ability which made her the IAAF World Athlete of the Year in 2002 with an excellent victory over 10km in Richmond Park last weekend, in her first competition since the London Marathon in April.

She ran an impressive 30min 50sec on Sunday but will be tested this weekend by the Olympic 10,000m champion Derartu Tulu, her long-time rival. It seemed the bubble had burst on the brilliant career of the Ethiopian, winner of gold medals in every major global championships whatever the terrain, after she dropped out of last month's world 10,000 metres final.

However, after the fastest 5000 metres of her career in last Friday's Brussels Golden League meeting, the 31-year-old revealed: "It was a little bit of food poisoning and I am now back in my very best shape.

"Running against Paula is always hard," added Tulu, who will also compete over 5000 metres at the World Athletics Final tomorrow. Two hard races in less than 24 hours are within the capabilities of the African, who will appreciate a look at Radcliffe before they meet in the Great North Run on 21 September with the Briton now apparently recovered from the shin injury and bronchitis which ruined her track season.

Two years ago in Hyde Park, Radcliffe set a world-record of 14:57 which was beaten last year when the American Deena Drossin sliced three seconds off it. "It's going to be a tough race," admitted Radcliffe, who knows the pace will be fast with Ireland's Sonia O'Sullivan - last year's winner in a course-record 14:56 - also in the field.

Meanwhile, the double world sprint champion Kelli White, who tested positive for a stimulant at the world championships, said yesterday she would fight to keep her medals.

The International Association of Athletics Federations said this week that it did not accept White's explanation for her positive test for modafinil and had referred the matter to the United States anti-doping agency. White, who tested positive after winning the 100m on 24 August, said she took the prescribed medication to combat narcolepsy. A second test after the 200 metres final was clean.

If she is found guilty of a doping offence then she would be disqualified and forced to give up both her gold medals. "No way. No way. I'm still going to fight to keep the medals," White said yesterday. "I still think there is a chance that I will be able to keep my medals. The damage to my reputation is done. I'd rather fight to keep my medals [and] ...if I can keep my medals then I'll be happy with that."

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