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Phil Minchill reporting for the BBC
"Radcliffe was always in the lead"
 real 14k

Paula Radcliffe
" Some parts of the course I actually liked"
 real 14k

Chief executive of UK athletics David Moorcroft
"It really is a major, major title within the sport."
 real 14k

Saturday, 24 March, 2001, 18:08 GMT
Radcliffe takes World Cross-Country title
Radcliffe strides through the mud to victory
Radcliffe strides through the mud to victory
Paula Radcliffe finally achieved a lifetime's ambition when winning the World Cross Country title on Saturday

After a decade of trying, during which time she has twice finished runner-up, Britain's number one distance runner proved to be a popular champion.

Second-placed Gete Wami, who already has two championship gold medals under her belt, said: "No one likes losing.

"But if anyone deserves to win this title it is Paula. She was great."

It's great to win a race in a sprint finish
  Paula Radcliffe
In a thrilling finish to a spell-binding race around a waterlogged course, world half-marathon champion Radcliffe found enough strength to get ahead of pre-race favourite Wami.

Radcliffe's break was so decisive that Wami threw in the towel with 80m remaining.

Until that electric moment it seemed yet again that Radcliffe, runner-up in 1997 and 1998, was going to succumb the superior finishing speed of Wami.

Radcliffe, who finished in 27mins 49secs, said: "It still hasn't really sunk in.

"Even when Wami passed me I knew I still had something left.

Sprint finish

"After I went, I kept telling myself, `keep going, keep going as hard as you can to the line'."

"It's great to win a race in a sprint finish."

Now Radcliffe is expected to run in Sunday's 4km short course race where the British team have an outside chance of a medal.

Kenyan Enock Koech won the men's short course title in his first race outside Africa.

The 19-year-old, winner of his national short course title this year, clocked an unofficial 12mins 40secs over the waterlogged 4km course.

After compatriot Sammy Kipketer had made the early running, Koech strode out to win ahead of Ethiopian short course champion Kenenisa Bekele.

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See also:

11 Mar 01 |  Northern Ireland
Dublin gets 2002 World Cross Country
20 Mar 01 |  Athletics
Strike threatens World X-Country
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