Lausanne, Switzerland – Many impressive competitive reputations have
taken a hard knock in the last few days on Europe’s tracks, and at
Athletissima - IAAF Super Grand Prix - in the Stade Olympique de la Pontaise,
World and Olympic 800m champion Maria Mutola became the latest victim
However, Hicham El Guerrouj who was one of the big names to have his pedigree
successfully challenged last Friday, quickly salvaged some pride with a dip
finish win in the men’s 1500m.
Mutola suffers shock defeat
Mutola was surprisingly beaten tonight in a women’s 800m for the first
time since suffering defeat to Cuba’s Zulia Calatayud on the 19 July 2002
in Monaco. As such, her winning streak of 27 wins came to an end, and it was
all thanks to Russia’s Svetlana Cherkasova whose 1:58.91 beat the racing
ace from Mozambique.
The 2003 Golden League Jackpot winner looked heavy legged as she came off
the final bend and the women who were grouped on her shoulder seemed to sense
the possibility of a win. Finally, it was the Russian who mustered enough
strength, crossing the finish ahead of Mutola who with 1:59.06 for second, just
did enough to hold off a pack of four challengers (who all finished under 2
mins) who were pressing hard.
El Guerrouj wins but struggles to hold off Songok
Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco, the quadruple World 1500m champion, will take
some comfort from the fact that he returned to winning ways this evening in
3:32.20, following on from his shock defeat in Rome last Friday.