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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 August, 2003, 22:12 GMT 23:12 UK
Action lives up to hype
Steve Cram
By Steve Cram
BBC Sport

Great race after great race is making these World Championships one of the most enjoyable ever.

You certainly couldn't have wished for a better spectacle than either the men's 3,000m steeplechase and 400m final.

The steeplechase was an incredible race.

Saif Saaeed Shaheen, the man we knew as Stephen Cherono until he switched allegiance from Kenya to Qatar earlier this month, was led out at a crazy pace by his new compatriot.

It was madness going so fast, an absolutely suicidal first 1,000m, but once the unofficial pacemaker went, Shaheen decided to keep it going.

The mistake Ezekiel Kemboi made was to attempt to chase Shaheen down too quickly. Had he hauled him in more slowly, I don't think Shaheen could have responded.

As it was, Kemboi caught him and the pair decided to take a breather. The rest of the field closed right up on them and then they unleashed that stunning sprint finale.

Marc Raquil was in a different race coming into the final straight
It will go down as one of the greatest steeplechases of all time - but the real Kenyan should have won it.

American Jerome Young came out on top in the 400m, but it was also a wonderful night for the French crowd.

Home favourite Marc Raquil was in a different race coming into the final straight but somehow managed to claim bronze.

We knew he liked to come late, but this was ridiculous.

To make up that sort of ground in the final few strides was almost unbelievable - and the crowd's reaction told you that.

Kelly Holmes
Holmes claimed 800m silver
Let's also congratulate Britain's Kelly Holmes for her 800m silver.

Once Stephanie Graf pulled out, the opportunity was there for Kelly.

Maria Mutola apart, it wasn't a great field.

And when your mate is controlling the race, everything becomes just that little bit easier for you.

I think Kelly and Mutola, training partners and friends, manipulated the race. And that's fair enough. The rest of the field had neither the mood nor ability to take them on.





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