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Radcliffe declared fit for Chiba Ekiden

2005-11-22

Paula Radcliffe gave the British selectors and her fellow athletes the good news they have been waiting for on Sunday by announcing she will compete in Wednesday's Chiba Ekiden Relay. Radcliffe, who has been recovering from bronchitis, decided last night to join the squad for the tough assignment in Japan. Now fully fit after further medical treatment for the problem, she is scheduled to contest a 10-kilometres leg of the race which consists of mixed stages covering the marathon distance of 42,1 km.

When she pulled out of a race in Holland on Sunday, there were huge doubts Radcliffe would not be available to lead the Norwich Union GB side of Charlotte Dale, Birhan Dagne, Jo Ankier, Kate Reed and Kate Ramsay in Chiba.

But Gary Lough, her husband and manager, explained: "We left it to the last possible moment before deciding she is fit enough to do herself and the side justice in Chiba." Even with Radcliffe in the side, the chances of a British victory in the high-powered Chiba event are slim. But the world marathon record holder clearly feels she owes it to her colleagues to make the long inter-continental trip.

Ethiopia are chasing a fourth successive title with Kenya, Morocco, France and the host nation also vying for top honours. There have been no suggestions that Ethiopia will withdraw from the competition, despite current political unrest - particularly in the capital, Addis Ababa. But Meselech Melkamu - last year's world junior cross country champion and included in the Chiba team - failed to show up in Portugal yesterday to defend her Oeiras cross country title, giving no reason for her absence.


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