18 Aug 2008

Radcliffe again fails at Olympics

10:25 am on 18 August 2008

Briton Paula Radcliffe missed out on an Olympic medal for the fifth time on Sunday when her patched-up body again fell foul of the rigours of the marathon four years after she dropped out of the race in Athens.

Radcliffe, the world record holder, looked unlikely to even make the Beijing Games after suffering a stress fracture of her thigh three months ago but vowed to run having finished fourth in the 10,000 metres in 2000 and fifth in the 5,000 in 1996.

She was 22nd.

Through a mixture of low-impact cross-training and determination she was able to take her place on the start line and looked comfortable enough for the first half of the race.

Like everyone else in the field, she was unable to respond when eventual winner Constantina Tomescu broke clear around the halfway mark but remained well-placed in the chasing pack. When she stopped twice there were flashbacks to 2004, when a mixture of heat and illness forced her to pull out six kilometres from the end of the Athens race.

The first occasion on Sunday was a natural break and the second an attack of cramp, but by then she had dropped out of contention.