THE concrete gun emplacements have survived intact on the World War II
airport, venue today for the World Cross-country Championships in
Budapest. But the record 800 participants from 67 nations need hardly be
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reminded that their sport is often war.
When Kenya's William Sigei won last year, it was because his
archrival, Moroccan Khalid Skah, was escorted in intimidatory close
custody by five other Kenyans, led by Ismael Kirui -- revenge for the
Olympics where the Moroccans were perceived to have cheated Kirui's
brother out of gold.
Skah heads a Moroccan team coached by Said Aouita, but the Kenyans
believe Skah, who has had bronchitis, may be a spent force, and Sigei is
favourite to win. Kenya, team victors for the past eight years, are so
confident that they feel able to omit world 5000m champion Kirui on
Two Scots, Vikki McPherson and Laura Adam, are in the UK women's team
from which injured former world junior champion Paula Radcliffe
yesterday was forced to withdraw.
Defending champion Albertina Diaz heads a Portuguese team which
includes world half-marathon champion Conceicao Ferreira and European
indoor 3000m champion Fernanda Ribeiro. Their title rivals, China, have
omitted all their world track champions.
* ''WE would rather be beaten in a close race than win by a
That was the laudable sentiment expressed yesterday by Alan Robson,
founder and tactician of Leslie Deans Racing Club who defend their
Scottish six-stage relay title today at Livingston in the final
championship of the road and cross-country season.
Last year, at Dumfries, his club won a poorly supported race by 4min.
06sec. ''That's no use to anybody,'' added the former British
professional mile champion.
Without marathon man Peter Fleming, and Robson's brother, John, Racing
may be more severely tested by Cambuslang, Shettleston, Falkirk, and
Kilbarchan, though Racing are also the form team on this course, victors
last time the event was staged here, in 1992.
This is the fourth time that the course, adjacent to Livingston South
Station, has been used for the event, and the Edinburgh club includes
David Ross and Brian Kirkwood, the two fastest men on the short
Racing are using the event to blood some less experienced runners in
preparation for the English 12-stage championships, in Birmingham on
April 30. But this will be the last team outing for Racing's notorious
radioactive cherry red strip, the rig the others love to hate. The club
has signed a deal with Mizuno, worth #4500, which will see them switch
to cobalt blue tops and turquoise and black shorts.
Alan Robson, if he is not called on to race a long stage today, will
attempt to win the Alloa half-marathon tomorrow (11am) for the sixth
He can expect tough competition from Tommy Murray and Terry Mitchell
in a race which last year attracted almost 1000 starters. Entries (#5)
will be accepted on the day at Lornshill Academy.
* MURRAY, Robert Quinn (Kilbarchan), and Alan Puckrin (Greenock
Glenpark) have been selected to represent Scotland in the Northumberland
Castles Series of road races next month.
They were due to run the opening two events, with the squad being
revised for the final race. Puckrin, however, has a knee injury and
reserve, Adrian Callan (Springburn), has been called in. Other reserves
are Graeme Croll (Cambuslang), Graham Wight (Shettleston), and John
Robson and Peter Fleming (Racing Club).
* CITY of Glasgow AC were honoured last night by a Glasgow City
Council civic dinner to mark their successful 1993 season during which
they won the UK league.