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Monday, 25 September, 2000, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
Holmes battles to 800m bronze
Kelly Holmes
Kelly Holmes: Fought all the way to the podium
Britain's Kelly Holmes put her injury problems behind her to run a fine race and take the bronze medal in the women's 800m final.

Gold went to Maria Mutola, who won a first ever Olympic gold for Mozambique.

Holmes, who has had only six weeks of training following long-term struggles with her fitness, took the lead as they entered the final straight.

She opened up a gap of a couple of yards but could not quite hang on for the gold.

Stormed

The leaders had stormed off on the first lap but were made to pay for that early pace in the closing stages and that played into the hands of Mutola.

  Kelly Holmes Factfile
Born 19 April 1970, Kent
1994: wins Commonwealth Games 1500m; 2nd at European Championships.
1995 World Championships: 3rd in 800m, 2nd in 1500m.
1996 Olympics: 11th in 1500m and 4th in 800m despite stress fracture.
1997: calf injury ends World Championships hopes.
1998 Commonwealth Games: 2nd in 1500m.
1999: misses season through injury
2000: short of training, seals Olympic place by winning 800m at AAA Championships.
25 September: caps remarkable comeback by taking 800m bronze in Sydney.

The Mozambique runner came through to take the gold with Stephanie Graf of Austria passing Holmes in the closing stages to finish in second place.

But Holmes was in no mood to care about being overtaken at the finish, as she celebrated a shock top-three finish.

"I can't believe it," she said. "I didn't know what was going to happen. I was just shocked to find myself there - I didn't care what happened as long as I got a medal."

Holmes' time of 1min 56.80 secs represented a stunning performance for an athlete who had looked like missing out on Sydney 2000.

"Six weeks ago I thought I wouldn't be here," she added.

"It's absolutely amazing - that's a gold medal run for me."

And Holmes is now setting her sights on the 1500m where she feels she has nothing to lose.

"I might as well give it a go, I'm just going to enjoy it. Who knows what is going to happen in the 1500m? I'm just going to go for it."

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See also:

22 Sep 00 |  Athletics-Track
Relieved Holmes off to perfect start
25 Sep 00 |  Athletics-Track
Glory for Freeman - and medal for Merry
25 Sep 00 |  Athletics-Track
Danvers joins stars in hurdles final
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