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Xing stuns Ethiopians in 10,000m

By Tony Lawrence
August 28, 2004 01:51 IST
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China's unheralded Xing Huina caused a major shock as she turned the tables on the Ethiopians to storm to gold in the women's Olympic 10,000 metres on Friday.

Using typically Ethiopian tactics, Xing sprinted away with 100 metres to go to time 30 minutes 24.36 seconds.

Silver went to Ejegayehu Dibaba with double Olympic champion Derartu Tulu, also of Ethiopia, taking bronze ahead of team mate Werknesh Kidane.

For Britain's Paula Radcliffe, there was further heartache as she dropped out with nine laps to go.

The 1999 world silver medallist entered the event only as a last-ditch attempt to win an Olympic medal after dropping out of her favoured marathon in tears on Sunday.

Again, however, she never looked comfortable before giving up.

The 20-year-old Xing used exactly the same sit-and-wait tactics which the Ethiopians had used on Radcliffe in the past.

"The gold should have been ours -- I had expected that Werknesh would win," Tulu said.

"We weren't really worried about Radcliffe, we knew we can beat her in the finishing sprint."

Radcliffe told reporters: "The point was to go out and get a medal -- my mind was ready but I'd taken too much out of my body on Sunday. But I have no regrets."

The race had been expected to confirm Ethiopia's domination in the long-distance events in Athens.

They had won the 5,000, while Kenenisa Bekele is on course to complete a 5,000-10,000 men's double on Saturday.

Yet none of the three Ethiopians were able to muster a significant sprint after five runners reached the bell still in contention.

They had dominated the front for most of the race, regularly changing the pace with accelerations and decelerations to upset the rhythm, but they were never able to get rid of Xing.

Sun Yingjie, her senior team mate and the world bronze medallist, had been expected to challenge but she was dropped in the later stages.

The 32-year-old Tulu won the event in 1992 and 2000.

Radcliffe, the marathon world record holder, may still be a marathon challenger in Beijing in four years but her hopes of a track gold are now gone.

She finished fifth in the 1996 Atlanta 5,000 and fourth in the 10,000 in Sydney. She also was outkicked in both the 1999 and 2001 world championships by the Ethiopians although she did win a silver in 1999.

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Tony Lawrence
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