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El Guerrouj loses debut 5000m race

Ostrava (Czech Republic): Morocco’s triple 1500m world champion Hicham el Guerrouj had to settle for second place in his first-ever attempt at the 5000m at the IAAF Grand Prix Thursday.

El Guerrouj, who is aiming at a 1500m-5000m double at the world meet in Paris, led into the home straight where he was passed by Kenyan Stephen Cherono, the Commonwealth Games steeplechase champion.

Cherono clocked 12:48.81, the quickest time of the season and the seventh fastest of all time, with El Guerrouj crossing the line 1.43 seconds behind.

“I didn’t expect to beat El Guerrouj,” said the 20-year -old Cherono. “I ran a great time today at 5000m. Though I also run the steeplechase, I prefer the 1500m.”

El Guerrouj, who last ran a 5000m as a junior in 1992, admitted that he still has some work to do before he coming to be recognised as a threat in the event.

“I saw tonight I am not a 5000m runner yet, but I have a good feeling from my first 5000m.”

Another Kenyan, Cornelius Chirchir, won the 1500m in 3:31.17. Britain’s Mark Lewis Francis clinched victory in the men’s 100m at 10.07, a meet record, to edge out Commonwealth champion Kim Collins of St Kitts and Nevis, with Dwain Chambers third at 10.16.

World-record holding pole-vaulter Stacy Dragila was beaten to the top spot, her effort of 4.58m eclipsed by the 4.70m produced by Russia’s Tatyana Polnova. (AFP)

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