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Record night in Stockholm for Mutola and Humbert

Record night for Mutola and Humbert in Stockholm
- Mozambique's Maria Mutola broke her own world indoor 1,000 metres record on Thursday, minutes after Nicole Humbert of Germany had broken the indoor pole vault mark at the Stockholm indoor meeting.

The Oregon-based Commonwealth 800 metres champion beat her own 1996 indoor record of two minutes 31.23 by almost half a second, set at the same Stockholm track, by clocking an official time of 2:30.94. This was sweet revenge for the three-times world indoor champion Mutola after she just missed the 800 mark in Lievin, last Sunday.

"I feel good, it's fantastic really, but I'm in pain, my legs hurt like hell," an exhausted Mutola, who could almost not walk after the race, told Reuters. "I've been trying to win a record and I was so near with the 800 metres in Lievin," said Mutola, who clocked under two minutes as she passed the 800 mark in Stockholm, way ahead of the other runners. Mutola who was two-thirds of a second outside the world record in Lievin on the 800 last week -- but still the second fastest ever -- had said her pace had been bad in France. This mistake was not repeated in Sweden. She had set out second in the pack and kept steady behind the pace maker enabling her to win by a convincing margin over Russia's Larisa Mikhaylova who clocked 2:37.31. At the last 100 metre leg it looked like the exhausted Mutola had blown her chance of breaking the record, but as the crowd of almost 10,000 people went wild she finally came through for them.

"The pace maker did a fantastic job, she pushed me and kept pushing me all along," she said. Mutola's manager and assistant coach Jeff Fund said she had set the right pace from the start, and she was fortunate to have such a good pace maker.

Mutola said she was impressed with passing the 800 mark below two minutes in Stockholm. "I passed the 800 metres in one minutes 59 seconds and that's very fast," she said, adding she did not think the 1,000 race was less prestigious than the 800. "The 1,000 is a real tough record to break, and now it's getting tougher."

Mutola said she would try to break the 11-year-old 800 record of 1 min 56.40 sec set by Christine Wachtel, at the world indoor championships next month in Japan. "Japan will be tough," she said. "There will be so many races and with the jet lag it will be even tougher.

Some seven minutes prior to Mutola's record run, Germany's Nicole Humbert stunned the crowd when she broke Australian Emma George's 1998 4.55 metres indoor pole vault record.

She cleared 4.56 metres in her second try to the surprise of the favourite Zsuzsa Szabo of Hungary who only achieved 4.41 metres. "I was so surprised I beat the record. My best has been 4.46 metres," Humbert said. "I though Szabo would win, I think she thought she'd win as well, everybody though she'd win, but I did," said the smiling 27-year-old.

American Gail Devers, who ran 6.98 at the Lievin event, despite a poor start in the women's 60m still clocked 7.03 seconds for a new stadium record, against Sevatheda Fynes of the Bahamas who clocked 7.07 seconds.

"I just had a slow start, it happens. But I'm quite happy with it," Devers said. "I'm feeling physically good, my body's good." But she complained she had not had enough time to train.
Among the other highlights was the men's high jump won by Cuban Javier Sotomayor who cleared 2.32 metres against Sweden's Stefan Holm who managed 2.29 metres.
The official web site for Stockholm


1. Paul Bitok (Ken) 7.49:12, 2. El Gourche Abdelhak (Mar) 7.51:78, 3. Vicari Ferdinando (Ita) 7.51:98
1. Laban Rotich (Ken) 3.33:39, 2. David Lelei (Ken) 3.39:20, 3.Ali Hakimi (Tun) 3.39:52
60m hurdles
1. Courtney Hawkins (USA) 7:54, 2. Anier Garcia (Cub) 7:56, 3.Duane Ross (USA) 7:62
1. Eric Nkansah (Gha) 6:58, 2. Deji Aliu (Ngr) 6:61, 3.Sunday Emmanuel (Ngr) 6:64
Long jump
1. Ivan Pedroso (Cub) 8.34m, 2. James Beckford (Jam) 8.31, 3.Gregor Cankar (Slo) 7.92
First race
1. Christopher Postinger (Aut) 46.77, 2. Sunday Bada (Ngr) 47.23, 3. Jacob Stafstedt (Swe) 47.99
Second race
1. Roxbert Martin (Jam) 46.73, 2. Michael McDonald (Jam) 46.90, 3. Solomon Wariso (Gbr) 46.97
High jump
1. Javier Sotomayor (Cub) 2.32m, 2. Stefan Holm (Swe) 2.29, 3. Martin Buss (Ger) 2.26
1. Norberto Tellez (Cub) 1:47.02, 2. Robert Chirchir (Ken) 1:47.12, 3. Vebjorn Rodal (Nor) 1:47.20

1. Sandie Richards (Jam) 52:30, 2. Ulrike Urbansky (Ger) 52:96, 3. Olabisi Afolabi (Ngr) 52:96
1. Gail Devers (USA) 7:03, 2. Sevatheda Fynes (Bah) 7:07, 3. Philomene Mensah (Can) 7:19
Long jump
1. Magdalena Christova (Bul) 6m36, 2. Camilla Johansson (Swe)6m35, 3. Zita Ajkler (Hun) 6m30
Pole Vault
1. Nicole Humbert (Ger) 4.56m (WR), 2. Zsuzsa Szabo (Hun) 4.41, 3. Thorey Elisdottir (Isl) 4.31
1. Maria Mutola (Moz) 2:30.94 (WR), 2. Larisa Mikhajlova (Rus)2:37.31, 3. Jelena Busjenko (Ukr) 2:37.87