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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 August, 2003, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
Saturday's Paris diary
Tom Fordyce
By Tom Fordyce
BBC Sport at the Stade de France

Walk on by (1)

To a list of great names like Trevor the Tortoise and Eric the Eel can be added another - Lima the Last.

Lima Azimi in action during the 100m heats
Azimi ran slowly into history

Lima Azimi, the first Afghan woman in history to appear at the Worlds, certainly made an impression in the heats of the 100m.

Coming up against top American Kelli White and the legendary Merlene Ottey, the 22-year-old Azimi powered down the home straight to clock a remarkable time of 18.37sec - a mere 7.11secs slower than White.

To be fair, it can't have been easy running in a t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms.

So new was she to top-flight sprinting that she had never before worn spikes. An official even had to show her how to use her starting blocks.

Still, in defeat came justifiable pride.

"This was important for my country, for me, my country," Azimi said.

"It's the first time that girls of Afghanistan participate in such a world championship. It is my participation that is important, not my result."

Walk on by (2)

You might not care about the results of the 20km walk, but they'll be dancing in the streets of Cuenca tonight.

Over in Ecuador, the victory of local pin-up boy Jefferson Perez in Saturday's final will have been greeted with delirium.

Perez is so famous over there he has his face on a stamp - and which British athlete can match that?

Okay, so in Britain you have to be dead or the reigning monarch to get your mug on the front of people's letters, but you get my point.

Perez, Ecuador's first Olympic champion in any sport, was dignified in his moment of golden glory.

Would he celebrate with champagne and a night on the tiles with a clutch of sweet ladies?

No. All he wanted was a bath, preferably one in a tub bigger than he has in his room at the athletes' village.

"In Ecuador, the people were starving for this victory," said Perez, hopefully speaking metaphorically.

Shot in the foot

Poor old Carl Myerscough. The Blackpool Tower, tipped as an outsider for shot put gold, failed to even make it into the final.

It was the worst possible result for the man who is still trying to clear his name after serving a two-year ban for doping.

Prior to competition he was overheard worrying that, should he perform badly, everyone would say it was because he was no longer on the banned substances.

Which would be mighty unfair, because this was his first major competition - and as a shy 23-year-old, it's not easy producing your best under such pressure.

Oh Carolina

Everyone's favourite heptathlete, Carolina Kluft, wasted little time on Saturday morning before getting on with the serious job of enjoying herself immensely.

Carolina Kluft celebrates after her high jump heroics
Kluft is one big bundle of fun

Sure, there was the small matter of an epic battle with Eunice Barber to worry about, a battle which shows every sign of being one of the highlights of the championships.

But the 20-year-old Swede is not the sort to dwell on such things. This is the girl who, on the starting blocks before the first event, the 100m hurdles, gurned for the camera like a moon-faced clubber on a podium at Pacha.

To call her an entertainer is an understatement. Klufty plays to the crowd better than Robbie Williams.

Forget 120,000 at Knebworth, Kluft had a packed Stade de France in the palm of her hand.

Links to more World Athletics 2003 stories





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