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Page last updated at 14:23 GMT, Monday, 26 May 2008 15:23 UK

Radcliffe bronze still 'awesome'

Liz Yelling (left) and Paula Radcliffe
Yelling and Radcliffe are friends and share the same coaches

An Olympic bronze for Paula Radcliffe would be an "awesome achievement," says British marathon team-mate Liz Yelling.

Radcliffe, 34, was favourite to win Olympic marathon gold in Beijing but now faces a fight to be fit after suffering a stress fracture to her leg.

"She wants to win the gold," said Yelling. "But it would still be an awesome achievement if she came away with the bronze medal.

"People shouldn't give up on her and ask her to throw in the towel."

Radcliffe's plans for a fourth Olympic Games suffered a major setback when she was diagnosed with a stress fracture in her left thigh last week.

Despite medical experts saying the injury could take six to eight weeks to heal, the marathon world record holder plans to start running again in a fortnight.

606: DEBATE
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Radcliffe insists she is "90-100%" likely to run in Beijing and has returned to her French training base in Font Romeu to continue her preparations.

And Yelling says her former training partner must be allowed to make her own decision about whether she could compete in China.

"I think everyone should just give her room to make her own decision," said Yelling, who will be making a second successive Olympic marathon appearance.

"She needs a chance to prove her fitness and that she can get there.

"She'll know next month where she stands and only Paula can answer that question."

Radcliffe is determined to make up for her Athens heartache, when she was forced to pull out of the Olympic marathon at the 23-mile mark.

However, if she is not fit enough to compete in Beijing, Scotland's Hayley Haining has been nominated as a reserve to join Yelling and Mara Yamauchi in Britain's female marathon squad.

The women's Olympic marathon in Beijing is on 17 August and starts from Tianamen Square to the finish point in the National Stadium.


see also
What next for Paula?
24 May 08 |  Athletics
Injury 'bombshell' hits Radcliffe
22 May 08 |  Athletics
Team GB for Beijing
19 May 08 |  Team GB
Radcliffe rejects pollution fears
08 Apr 08 |  Athletics
Radcliffe out of London Marathon
06 Mar 08 |  Athletics
Radcliffe reveals 2012 ambition
05 Nov 07 |  Athletics
Coe hails Radcliffe as GB great
04 Nov 07 |  Athletics
Radcliffe storms to New York win
04 Nov 07 |  Athletics
Marathon agony for Radcliffe
22 Aug 04 |  Athletics
Radcliffe smashes record
13 Apr 03 |  London Marathon 2003


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