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  Saturday, 11 August, 2001, 17:58 GMT 18:58 UK
Yegorova booed to 5,000m 'glory'
Olga Yegorova of Russia
Yegorova comes to terms with her victory
Controversial Russian Olga Yegorova was booed on her way to claiming the 5,000m title at the World Championships in Edmonton.

Yegorova, who was reinstated to the event after a drug-test technicality, took the title from Romanian athlete Gabi Szabo.

However, her win was tainted by the taunts of the Canadian crowd as she broke clear down the home straight.

Spanish athlete Morta Dominguez ran superbly to take the silver ahead of Ethiopia's Ayelech Worko who won the bronze.


For me she is not the world champion - I had no chance of winning when running against a robot
Gabriela Szabo

The athletics' world had been waiting anxiously for the women's 5,000m with controversy surrounding the event.

World indoor 3,000m champion Yegorova was cleared to compete, despite having tested positive for the banned drug EPO.

Szabo, who finished back in eighth, had threatened to boycott the event.

Before Thursday's heats British team captain Paula Radcliffe and team-mate Hayley Tullett held up a sign in the stands reading "EPO cheats out".

And there was another British protest before the race when Kathy Butler and Hayley Yelling - who both missed out on a place in the final - were joined in the stands by team coaches Mark Rowland and Alan Storey.

They all wore Radcliffe masks and held up banners with mocking slogans.

One read: "Free Paula", in reference to the fact that Radcliffe was almost removed from the stadium because of her protest.


I can't believe she had the nerve to run
Briton Jo Pavey
In sweltering heat, the athlete's made a pedestrian start to the final, completing the opening 800m in 1min 58 secs.

Even with 1,000m completed, the pace remained slow with the leaders crossing the line in 3mins 10 seconds - almost a minute slower than the women are capable of running.

The high altitude conditions were clearly affecting the athletes and, as they continued at a comfortable pace, a sprint finish seemed inevitable.

Szabo began to struggle with two laps left although Yegorova stayed close to the front of the pack, pushing her rivals all the way.

Everyone believed the Russians would dominate in the final sprint and Yegorova ensured an unpopular result with a strong finish.

British athlete Joanne Pavey, who finished eleventh in the race, admitted it was the result that everyone had been dreading.

Gabriela Szabo
Szabo could only finish eighth in the 5000m final

"I can't believe she had the nerve to run. It is a real injustice to the event and I hope that next time they ban her from the race.

"It was tough out there for me and I'm glad it is all over.

"I just gave it a go. It was one place better than last year for me."

Fellow British athletes staged a protest, wearing Paula Radcliffe masks in support of their captain.

Afterwards Szabo made plain her disgust.

"I like to win, but I know how to lose, and for me she is not the world champion," said the Romanian.

"I had no chance of winning when running against a robot, but I ran to show I was not afraid of the Russian."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
British 5,000m finalist Joanne Pavey
"It [Yegorova's gold medal] is an injustice to everyone"
Double Olympic champion Daley Thompson
"It sends out the message that it's possible to cheat and get away with it"
IAAF general secretary Istvan Gyulai
"The IAAF had no other option"
World Athletics Championship site

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12 Aug 01 | Photo Galleries
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