WORLD record in women's walk, ridiculous race in men's 5,000

Thursday, September 6th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) _ A Russian walker named in hopes of Olympic greatness set the first track world record at the Goodwill Games on Thursday night.

World champion Olimpiada Ivanova set her record in the women's 20-kilometer race walk.

Asked about her unusual first name, Ivanova said, ``My parents were sports fans and they probably expected something special from me.''

Ivanova gave it to them here.

She chopped nearly three minutes off the previous mark with a time of 1 hour, 26 minutes, 52.3 seconds to earn $120,000 _ a $100,000 bonus for the record and $20,000 for winning.

She said she would use part of the money to pay bills for her parents, former wrestler Vladimir Markov and former gymnast Zoya Ivanova, who live near Moscow.

``It is not easy to live in Russia,'' Ivanova said.

She didn't know what she would buy herself.

``Yesterday, I was poor and today I became a little richer,'' she said. ``It's difficult to switch from little money to big money.''

Runner-up Yelena Nikolayeva of Russia was timed in 1:27:49.3, also under the record of 1:29:36.4, set by Susanne Feltor of Portugal in Lisbon on July 21.

The competition also featured probably the slowest 5,000-meter men's race in a major championship.

The field of five Kenyans, including world champion Richard Limo, and two Ethiopians, including Olympic gold medalist Million Wolde, made a farce of the race.

For the first 10 1/2 laps, they loped around the track with no intention of trying to run fast. Then, they picked up the pace a little with two laps remaining, before going to an all-out sprint in the final 400 meters, which was run in 51 seconds _ extraordinarily fast for a 5,000.

Two-time Olympic silver medalist Paul Bitok of Kenya won in 15:26.10, slower than women's winner Olga Yegorova of Russia (15:12.22) on Tuesday night and nearly three minutes slower than the world record. The time of 12:52.90 for 4,000 meters was slower than Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie's 5,000 world mark of 12:39.36.

The men's and women's miles also were relatively slow, as the runners were just going out to win rather than produce fast times, but they weren't nearly as absurd as the 5,000.

In the men's mile, Olympic champion Noah Ngeny of Kenya burst into the lead coming off the final turn, then held off Canada's Kevin Sullivan to win in 3:56.10, 13 seconds off the world record. Sullivan wound up second at 3:56.81, followed by three Kenyans.

``I was coming hard down the homestretch,'' said Sullivan, bleeding after being spiked by Kenya's William Chirchir. ``I almost got him (Ngeny).''

Romania's Violeta Szekely won the women's mile in 4:38.03, beating Russia's Tatyana Tomashova by .10 seconds in a tense stretch duel. Szekely's time was 26 seconds slower than the world record.

American Shawn Crawford, running in lane eight, scored a surprisingly easy victory in the men's 200.

Crawford, the world indoor champion and world outdoor bronze medalist, was timed in a season's best 20.17.

World leader Joshua Johnson of the United States wound up third at 20.54, behind the 20.38 of world silver medalist Christopher Williams of Jamaica.

Three-time Olympic champion and world record-holder Jan Zelezny of the Czech Republic won the men's javelin with a Goodwill Games record of 287 feet, 2 inches. U.S. champion Breaux Greer was second at 281-8.

Cuba's Ivan Pedroso, the Olympic gold medalist and four-time world champion, won the men's long jump at 26-9 1/4.

In other finals, world champion Hestrie Cloete of South Africa won the women's high jump at 6-6 3/4, then missed three attempts at a Goodwill record 6-8 3/4. World champion Tatyana Lebedeva of Russia took the women's triple jump at 47-10, with Olympic gold medalist Tereza Marinova of Bulgaria second at 47-1 3/4, and Olympic champion Ellina Zvereva of Belarus won the women's discus, throwing 217-8, beating world champion Natalya Sadova of Russia, the runner-up at 210-4.