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Sunday, April 15, 2012

London 2012 Olympics: Paula Radcliffe's hopes of Olympic gold


Paula Radcliffe has pleaded with protesters not to sabotage her Olympic dream on the streets of London this summer.


Last week’s Boat Race was ruined by Trenton Oldfield’s stunt of swimming in front of the boats, which wrecked the ambitions of those involved.


There are fears for Olympic events such as cycling’s road race and Radcliffe’s marathon, BOA chief Colin Moynihan warning it only takes “one idiot”.


Radcliffe, who runs the Vienna half-marathon on Sunday, said: “You just hope that people, please, don’t do anything like that. We’ve seen it before in a London Marathon and at the Athens Olympics.


The race had been specially arranged for the two athletes in a ‘catch me if you can’ format, with Radcliffe being given a head start of 7min 52sec – the difference between her and Gebrselassie’s personal bests for the half-marathon distance.
Her advantage had been calculated to ensure a close finish in Vienna’s city centre but the race was over as a contest long before the end as Gebrselassie caught her shortly after the 15km mark.
“Hurry up,” the Ethiopian urged as he passed her, gesturing with his hand for her to pick up the pace, but Radcliffe, who had slowed alarmingly after 10km, was unable to respond.


Haile caught me a lot sooner than I would have had hoped and I’m disappointed with the time. I knew I wasn’t on top form after the last two week but I didn’t expect it to be that bad.”
Radcliffe’s previous slowest half-marathon time was the 69min 45sec she clocked on the undulating New York course in 2009. She had been aiming for a time in Vienna of around 69 minutes.
“It should have been a test for the Olympics but it wasn’t a real test in the end,” she said.
Gebrselassie, who won the duel in 60min 52sec, was the first to comfort her as she slumped to the ground after the finish line. He, too, had been surprised how poorly she had run.
“The gap between me and Paula was OK until about 8k, but somewhere around 12k she was slower,” he said. “Every kilometre she was slower than me by about 30 or 35 seconds.


“At the beginning my calculation was that I was going to catch her at about 20k but I knew Paula must be ill when I saw her going that slowly.
“It was not what I expected. The pace of Paula would normally be very fast. Sometimes there are good days and some days there are bad days. Maybe today was just a bad day for Paula.”

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