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Sunday, 12 November, 2000, 19:27 GMT
Panicky Paula strikes gold
Paula Radcliffe
Radcliffe won her first World Championship gold medal
Paula Radcliffe survived a mid-race panic attack on her way to winning the IAAF half-marathon in Mexico - her first World Championship gold medal.

Radcliffe, who has asthma, suffered dizzy spells in the hot, humid conditions when taping on her nose, designed to help her breathe easier, fell off.

But she survived the attack of nerves and managed to up her pace to finish as the runaway winner with a time of 1hr, 9mins, 7secs.

Kenya's Susan Kepkemei and Romania's Olympic marathon silver medallist Lidia Simon trailed in her wake to take second and third respectively.

First gold

It was a great moment for Radcliffe, considering she nearly didn't make it to Mexico after suffering a heavy cold.

She was in two minds about competing in the race but decided at the last moment to take part after being inspired by her record breaking win in the Great Northern Run.


I suddenly felt dizzy and I had to tell myself to keep calm. As a result I just found myself going faster.
  Paula Radcliffe

Dizzy

But the race was hard going at the end of a long season, particularly when her nose taping fell off two thirds through the 13.1 mile course.

"I suddenly felt dizzy and I had to tell myself to keep calm," said Radcliffe. "As a result I just found myself going faster."

The British team finished sixth in the team race with Sarah Young-Wilkinson 19th in a time of 1 hr 15min 55secs and Andrea Green 45th in 1hr 24min 53secs.

Romania were the number one team, ahead of Japan and Russia.

Tergat

Kenya's Paul Tergat easliy retained his men's title, running a time of 1hr, 3 mins, 47 sec.

The Olympic 10,000 silver medallist held off Tanzanian teenager Faustin Baha to win by just a second in a sprint finish, with last year's bronze medallist Tefaye Jifar of Ethiopia again having to settle for third.

Matthew Vaux-Harvey recorded Britain's best time, coming in 52nd with a time of 1hr, 9 mins, 20 secs.

The Kenyans took gold in the team event ahead of Ethiopia and Belgium.

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See also:

30 Oct 00 |  Athletics
Radcliffe set for world challenge
22 Oct 00 |  Athletics
Radcliffe is queen of the North
18 Oct 00 |  Athletics
The Great Northern Rhyme
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