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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 August 2006, 17:38 GMT 18:38 UK
Superb Baala defends 1500m title
Frenchman Mehdi Baala cries after his Swedish win
Baala added European gold to his 2003 World silver
Frenchman Mehdi Baala delivered a devastating burst of speed to defend his European 1500m crown in Sweden.

The 27-year-old broke away from Ivan Heshko and Juan Carlos Higuero down the back straight and raised his arms as he won in three minutes 39.02 seconds.

Heshko eclipsed Higuero at the bend to add silver to his world indoor crown with the Spaniard taking the bronze.

Britain's Andy Baddeley, who fell over in the Commonwealth final, put in a brave performance to finish sixth.

But Baala was delighted with his victory, which he described as a dream come true.

"I am moved because this is a great moment for me," he said.

"It might be the last medal I win because I don't think I will still be competing at the next European Championships in 2010 and the standard at world level is very high.

"Some people criticised me because I only arrived in Gothenberg 24 hours before the semi-final but I have proved to them that I know best what is good for me."

Despite finishing out of the medals, Baddeley was pleased with his display.

"I came here ranked eighth so I'm really pleased to finish sixth," the 24-year-old told BBC Sport.

"I just ran as hard as I could and now I'll go home train harder and try and do better."

SEE ALSO
European Championships schedule
02 Aug 06 |  Athletics
The BBC at the European Athletics
13 Jul 06 |  Athletics


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