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Sunday, 17 December, 2000, 16:26 GMT
Kenyans win cross country season opener
Paula Radcliffe
Radcliffe on her way to the world half-marathon title
Paula Radcliffe's good run of form has come to an end after losing out to two old Kenyan foes in the first major race of the international cross country season.

Briton Radcliffe was beaten into third place by Lydia Cheromei and Susan Chepkemei, in the mud of Brussels' Royal Park.

Cheromei completed the 6,000metres, six seconds ahead of her compatriot in a time of 20mins 57secs with Radcliffe, who was celebrating her 27th birthday, recording 21.23.

Radcliffe had made up for the disappointment of missing out on a 10,000m medal in Sydney with a European half-marathon record at the Great North Run and the world crown in the same event in Veracruz. But she insisted the defeat will not dent her confidence.

World title aim

"Having taken three weeks off from training after the world half-marathon I more or less expected to finish where I did today," she said.

"I know the Kenyans have been training hard and they find coping with the mud much easier than my long legs do."

She added: "My aim at the end of this winter is to win the world title. To do that I will have to beat the Africans and they must be encouraged to run in these races.

"The likes of Lydia and Susan are not going to go away and we must carry on racing against them."

Seven days after winning the European Championship title, Portugal's Paulo Guerra won the men's 10,500m.

Seamus Power finished ninth in 34 minutes dead with fellow Irishman Peter Matthews three seconds slower. Billy Farquharson was 25th and the first Briton home in 35.45.

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