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45 countries to compete in Veracruz as Paul Tergat aims for historic double

45 countries to compete in Veracruz as Paul Tergat aims for historic double
IAAF Release

7 November 2000 - Monte Carlo  - Athletes from 45 countries around the world will compete in the 9th IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Veracruz, Mexico on Sunday 12 November.

Much of the attention in Veracruz will be focused, though, on just one man: Kenya’s Paul Tergat.

Tergat competed for the third time in the World Half Marathon Championships last year, in Palermo and won the men’s title, despite narrowly avoiding disaster in the final 100 metres, when an official accidentally blocked his path as he sprinted clear of South Africa’s Hendrick Ramaala and Ethiopia’s Tesfaye Jifar.

Now, in Veracruz, Tergat will be attempting to become the first man ever to win double gold in the Championships.

Ramaala, who won silver in the last two editions is not competing in Veracruz, so Jifar could well represent the biggest threat to Tergat, who is the holder of the world best performance for the distance, with 59:17, set in Milan in 1998.

In the women’s race, Kenya could well lose the title that has been won by Tegla Loroupe for the past three editions.

Loroupe, who suffered food poisoning during the Sydney Games, dashing her hopes of Olympic Marathon gold, has opted out this year, leaving the field wild open.

Last year’s silver medallist, Mizuki Noguchi, starts out as hot favourite, with her biggest challenger likely to be Kenya’s Susan Chepkemei.

Live Reuslts, reports and photos from Veracruz will be available on the IAAF web site: http://www.iaaf.org/whm00/index.asp