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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 August, 2003, 21:52 GMT 22:52 UK
Two of a kind

By Tom Fordyce
BBC Sport at the Stade de France

Britain's Kelly Holmes finished behind training partner Maria Mutola in the women's 800m
Kelly Holmes might have been beaten by Maria Mutola to 800m gold at the World Championships, but she has a lot to thank her training partner for.

Whether the pair worked out a mutually beneficial race strategy before the race or not I'll leave up to your cynicism to decide.

But Holmes had already reaped the benefit of training out in Johannesburg with the greatest 800m runner in the world, being pushed harder and in different sorts of sessions than in the past.

What of other training partnerships? Have they always been as productive as in Kelly's case?


Maurice Greene and Ato Boldon

The two 100m men both train out in Los Angeles under John Smith, who also has Jon Drummond and new 100m silver medallist Torri Edwards in his group.

Ato Boldon and Maurice Greene
Boldon has seldom got the better of Greene in the major championships
Regardless of what happened here in Paris - Greene exiting injured in the semi-finals and Boldon not making it through on form alone - the relationship has worked much better for the American than the Trinidadian.

Boldon wouldn't agree with this, but most critics feel that he is either too used to being beaten by Greene in training or too friendly with the Olympic champion to ever beat him in the major championships.

The pair's respective records bear that out. Boldon is the nearly-man of sprinting. Greene has three world titles as well as that Olympic crown.


Dwain Chambers and Kelli White

Both sprinters work under septuagenarian Ukrainian coach Remi Korchemny.

Coming to Paris it was Chambers who was the athlete supposedly coming in to form, with White below her best.

Yet it was White who was crowned women's 100m champion and Chambers who had to settle for fourth in the men's final.

Chambers only switched to Korchemny from Mike McFarlane last winter, so the jury is still out on whether the training group will be of benefit to him in the long-run.

Despite his extreme disappointment with his showing here, however, Chambers is sure he is with the right man. White's success can only bolster that view.


Steve Backley and Jan Zelezny

The two great rivals of the javelin world are also great friends who have spent several periods training together in the past.

Steve Backley and Jan Zelezny
Backley and Zelezny have played out one of athletics' most competitive rivalries
The relationship has made them both better throwers. Between them they have hovered up every honour worth having in the last 14 years.

The shame for Backley is that, while he has a record-breaking four consecutive European titles, Zelezny has always edged him out in the global championships.

The Czech has amassed an unparalleled three Olympic golds and four world golds and will be taking on Backley again when the javelin qualification here in Paris begins on Friday.


Chris Rawlinson and Kemel Thompson

The two 400m hurdlers both train under Nick Dakin in Loughborough in a group at also includes 400m runner Iwan Thomas.

Both have extolled the virtues of working together, and have managed to combine being friends off the track with a competitive rivalry on it.

Jamaican Thompson was ranked as the second-fastest athlete in the world this year coming to the Worlds, while Rawlinson has been in the world's elite for the last four years, only to suffer with injury when the big championships have come around.

The Briton qualified for Friday's final comfortably and was joined there by Thompson, who won his semi-final in some style.

But expecting a Mutola/Holmes-style one-two may be asking too much - the Dominican Republic's Felix Sanchez is one of the hottest favourites in Paris.





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