El Guerrouj sets world 2,000m record


Moroccan star Hicham El Guerrouj broke the 2,000 metres world record in Berlin last night at the IAAF Golden League meeting, finishing in an unofficial time of four minutes 44.79 seconds.

The 24-year-old, who won his second successive 1,500 metres world title in Seville last month, broke the previous best time of 4:47.88, set by Algerian Noureddine Morceli in Paris in July 1995.

El Guerrouj now holds the mile, which he broke in Rome this year, 1,500 and 2,000 metres records - all previously held by Morceli.

Also in Berlin, Gabriela Szabo and Wilson Kipketer shared the Golden League million dollar bonus after winning the seventh and final races of the series in their respective events.

Romanian Szabo (23) won the 5,000 metres easily in a race that saw Britain's 10,000 metres world championship silver medallist Paula Radcliffe finish eighth.

Having dropped plans to chase the world record, the race followed a familiar pattern with Kenya's Tegla Loroupe on this occasion fulfilling the role of trying to run the speed out of the world champion's legs.

But the former gymnast, who weighs only 8 st 4 lb, has a strength which belies her delicate frame and with 250 metres left she launched another withering sprint which carried her to victory in 14 minutes 40.59 seconds, her fourth consecutive win at this meeting.

Denmark's Kenyan-born middle distance runner Kipketer, who only last year was fortunate to live after contracting a severe strain of malaria, just held on in the 800 metres from the fast-finishing Japtheth Kimutai.

Szabo said: "It's something special for me - it's a fantastic feeling. It was a hard race for me, but I am strong and I trained hard for this."

Diane Modahl added to British disappointment, finishing ninth behind Maria Mutola who won the 800 metres in 1:57.56.