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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 August, 2003, 19:27 GMT 20:27 UK
Silver for Holmes behind Mutola
Maria Mutola (left) and Kelly Holmes
Maria Mutola confirmed her status as the greatest female middle distance runner of all time by winning the women's 800m at the World Championships on Tuesday.

The Mozambique athlete kicked late to finish in one minute 59.89 seconds, ahead of Britain's Kelly Holmes and Russia's Natalya Kruschchelyova.

Holmes, the Olympic 800m bronze medallist and Mutola's training partner, accelerated to the front at the start of the final bend.

But Mutola poured on the pace down the home straight as Holmes held off Kruschchelyova to claim silver.

Holmes suffered from calf problems this summer and only decided to run the 800m when she arrived in Paris after a disappointing display over 1500m in Zurich earlier this month.

I was running for gold but I am realistic enough to know that if Maria is anywhere near you she's going to go clear
Kelly Holmes

"I amaze myself sometimes," said the 33-year-old Holmes, who will now have to decide whether she wants to double up with the 1500m which starts on Wednesday.

"This year I have been emotionally, physically and psychologically very low.

"I was nearly going to give up this year because it's the lowest I have ever felt.

"I came here not knowing which event I was going to do. My training has been limited and I didn't think I had the ammunition to perform.

1970: Born 19 April, Kent
1994: Wins Commonwealth Games 1500m. Second at Europeans.
1995: Third in 800m, second in 1500m at Worlds.
1998: Wins Commonwealth silver at 1500m.
2000: Wins 800m Olympic bronze in Sydney.
2002: Wins 800m bronze at European Championships.

"I only made up my mind to do the 800m one day before the first heat, but you have to have a lot of passion and my heart is still in the sport although there are only so many things you can go through.

"But I am a championship runner and my mode changes and I go into the mode where these races are the be all and end all."

Holmes, who won 800m bronze at the 1995 World Championships, has been training and living with Mutola in South Africa for much of this year.

When asked if she had planned the race in advance with Mutola, Holmes said: "You can always talk about things, but when you've got other people in the race they can determine what happens.

"My plan was to stay back and assess the field and go with 180m to go.


"I was running for gold but I am realistic enough to know that if Maria is anywhere near you she's going to go clear."

Mutola added: "We train together and it's very important to support each other.

"I just went to the front and controlled the race there. I just went the last 100 metres and gave everything I had."

Olympic and world silver medallist Stephanie Graf pulled out after cutting her foot when an bottle of mineral water fell on it, while European champion Jolanda Ceplak of Slovenia pulled out with an ankle injury.

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