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Athletics: Radcliffe triumphs but Britain miss out.


PAULA RADCLIFFE made a triumphant return to the track when she ran the third-fastest 5,000min history to confirm her injury worries are over.

However,Radcliffe's heroics were overshadowed on a weekend of high drama and agony for both the men's and women's teams in the Spar European Cup in Poland.

Triple jumper Ashia Hansen's Olympic dream is over after she suffered a serious knee injury and the women's team were relegated from the Super League.

In the men's competition, the disqualification of pre-race favourite Mark Lewis-Francis and subsequent loss of an expected eight points in the 100m yesterday proved costly as Britain finished fourth overall.

Having led overnight, the men made a brave attempt at recovering from Lewis-Francis'error in a bid to lift the cup for the fifth time in eight years.

Britain's hopes were undone in the final event when Chris Rawlinson tripped and fell as he took the baton in the 4x400m relay and the quartet trailed home in fifth.

It meant Britain finished fourth on 102.5points,five behind eventual winners Germany.

From the men's point of view the weekend looked to be heading in the right direction and they enjoyed six victories on Saturday.

Carl Myserscough started the ball rolling in the shot, Rawlinson won the 400m hurdles,Chris Tomlinson leapt to success in the long jump, while Wales' Tim Benjamin (400m)and John Mayock (5000m) triumphed,and the 4x100m relay quartet won a photo- finish over the hosts.

Not even Lewis-Francis losing what was expected to be an eight-point haul as he was disqualified for a false start could take away their lead,but it proved to be a different story on day two. Only Newport sprinter Christian Malcolm in the 200m was a winner.

In contrast to the men's hopes for European glory, a women's team depleted by injuries and absenteeism never had a hope of finishing in the required top six. Radcliffe did smash the Commonwealth record with a time of 14m 29.11s, but it was not enough.

RESULTS -OVERALL MEN'S STANDINGS: 1 Germany 107.5pts, 2 France105, 3 Poland

104,4 Great Britan & Northen Ireland 102.5,5Russia 99, 6 Italy 100, 6 Italy 72, 7 Sweden 67,8 Netherlands 62 OVERALL WOMEN'S STANDINGS: 1 Russia 142pts, 2 Ukraine97, 3 France 92.5,4 Germany 92,5Poland 86.5, 6 Greece 79, 7

Spain 66,8 Great Britain & Northern Ireland 63.


Paula Radcliffe
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 21, 2004
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