News02 May 2002

O'Sullivan eyeing fourth World title


O'Sullivan eyeing fourth World title
David Martin (PA Sport)
3 May 2002 - Olympic 5000 metres silver medallist Sonia O'Sullivan continues her international comeback after the birth of her second child, when bidding to win the IAAF World Half Marathon title in Brussels on Sunday.

O'Sullivan returned bouyant from a spell of altitude training in California at the beginning of this  week, convinced she can make a genuine challenge for a medal. 

The three successful weeks spent abroad have proved to the Irishwoman the bout of food poisoning which ruined her hopes of victory in last month's Carlsbad 5K, is now out of her system.

O'Sullivan 32, is already a former holder of the World 5000 metres crown, plus the long and short World cross country titles. Now she feels geared up to tackle the tough opposition in the Belgian capital, led by Kenya’s three times winner, Tegla Loroupe.

A surprise top-10 finisher on her return to top flight competition in the recent World Cross Country short course race, O'Sullivan said: "My preparations have gone really well in the Californian mountains.

"I'm really looking forward to Brussels. It's my first real test since the World's in Dublin. I was happy with my performance that day - but I'll be looking to improve on my eighth place finish there."

Although considered a novice by her rivals at the 13.1 miles distance, O'Sullivan has raced it seriously before. The 1998  BUPA Great North Run champion insisted: "I'm going into the race looking for a medal."

But she won't underestimate her rivals. "I know it will be difficult," said O'Sullivan. "There will be some good eastern Europeans, Japanese and Kenyans competing."

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