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Bekele, Dragila set world marks

June 09, 2004 11:02 IST
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Ethiopian long distance runner Kenenisa Bekele and American pole vaulter Stacy Dragila broke world records on Tuesday just two months before the Athens Olympics.

The diminutive Bekele broke his second world record in nine days when he shattered compatriot Haile Gebrselassie's 10,000 metres mark at an international meeting.

The 22-year-old double world cross country champion brought the capacity crowd to their feet as he crossed the line in 26 minutes 20.31 seconds, well inside Gebrselassie's mark of 26:22.75 set in Hengelo, Netherlands, six years ago.

Bekele broke Gebrselassie's 5,000 record at the Hengelo meeting on May 31.

"I'm very happy...I knew I would break the world record only on the last lap," Bekele said. He added he would "most probably" run the 10,000 metres in Athens.

Olympic champion Dragila reclaimed the women's world pole vault record when she cleared 4.83 metres with her third attempt.

The 33-year-old American broke Russian Yelena Isinbayeva's mark of 4.82 set in Gateshead, Britain last year, when she barely got over the bar on her third attempt, grazing the bar as she passed over. Three subsequent attempts at 4.88 were unsuccessful.

"This is a great surprise for myself. My legs felt kind of heavy today. Yesterday, I felt good, like I could break the record, but I didn't feel that way today," she said adding she expected to break the five metre mark by the end of the year.

Triple Olympic champion Marion Jones was less than impressive in her first long jump compeition in Europe since the 2000 Sydney Games.

Jones failed to break seven metres in her six attempts and came no where close to the 7.13 metre jump she recorded at a meeting in California last month.

"I am not satisfied with my performance today. I simply have to jump further," she said.

Jones is coming back from a year off after giving birth to a son last year.

Mozambique's Maria Mutola also put her rivals on notice in the 800 metres where she will defend her title in Athens. Her time of 1:57.72 was the fastest in that distance this year by nearly a full second.

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