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Thursday, 12 October, 2000, 16:10 GMT 17:10 UK
Privalova tackles new hurdle
Irina Privalova on her way to gold in Sydney
Irina Privalova on her way to gold in Sydney
Former sprinter Irina Privalova plans to switch to the 800m - just three weeks after winning the Olympic gold in the 400m hurdles.

"After watching me in the 400 final, my coach said it was only a miracle that with my hurdling technique I didn't trip over one of the hurdles and fall over," said the Russian.

"My coach suggested that was enough and I should not push my luck any further, so from now on I'm planning to switch to the 800 metres for the next few years."

Privalova, a former 100m and 200m world and European champion, turned to the 400m hurdles last winter and surprised everyone, including herself, by taking the Olympic gold in just her eighth race over the distance.

Personal best

The Russian took a full second off her personal best to win the final in 53.02 seconds, beating a strong field including defending champion Deon Hemmings of Jamaica.

"As you get older, it gets more and more difficult to prepare yourself for shorter distances as they require a lot more strenuous training, lifting weights and so on," said Privalova. "By switching to the 800 I can prolong my athletic career."

The 31-year-old said she plans to take a winter season off and resume competition next spring. She also joked there was no limit to her ability to run even longer races.

"Maybe by the time I reach 40 I can run a marathon," she said. "But definitely, I'm planning to stay in sports at least until the 2004 Athens Olympics."

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See also:

27 Sep 00 |  Athletics-Track
Novice Privalova takes gold
25 Sep 00 |  Athletics-Track
Holmes battles to 800m bronze
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