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Sunday, September 20, 1998 Published at 08:19 GMT 09:19 UK

Moqhali is the marathon man

The heat and humidity in Kulala Lumpur found many atheletes out

Thabiso Moqhali of Lesotho claimed his country's first Commonwealth Games gold medal ever on Sunday when he ignored the tropical heat of central Kuala Lumpur to run away with the men's marathon.

The women's race was won by front-running Heather Turland, a mother of four who at 38 is the oldest competitor ever named on an Australian athletics team.

Turland spent a month with her leg in plaster after being hit by a motorcycle in Rome in March on her way to the world cross-country championships.

She kept the Commonwealth gold firmly in her sights by having a special cast made which allowed her to keep her fitness by constant swimming.

Moqhali made his move in the last quarter of the race against pre-race favourite South African Frank Pooe, who fell away in the final kilometre to finish fifth.

Moqhali finished in two hours 19 minutes 15 seconds, 27 seconds ahead of Tanzania's Simon Bisiligitwa in 2:19:42. Another Tanzanian, Andea Sujo, claimed bronze in 2:19:50.

"It's the first medal ever for my country. It's very big," said Moqhali, who works in a gold mine in the tiny southern African mountain kingdom.

Both the men's and women's races had depleted fields -- South African Olympic champion Jose Thugwane and other big-name marathon runners are in training for the more lucrative New York marathon in November.

Turland, who only took up competitive running four years ago, made the break seven kilometres from home and cruised comfortably to the line about 30 seconds ahead of compatriot Lisa Dick.

Elizabeth Mongudhi of Namibia won the bronze medal.

World record goes in Berlin

Brazil's Ronaldo da Costa broke the 10-year-old world record for a marathon Sunday in Berlin, running the course in two hours, six minutes and 5 seconds.

The 28-year-old bettered the old record held by Ethiopia's Belayneh Densimo by 45 seconds while running at one of the world's fastest courses - a relatively flat route through the German capital.

Densimo had run 2:06.50 on April 17, 1988 Rotterdam.

Belgium's Marleen Renders captured the women's race in 2:25.23 on a sunny cool morning. Her time was the third fastest in Berlin history.

Around 26,000 runners took part in the annual event.

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