BUDAPEST, March 7 Reuters - With the nonchalance of achampion, Mozambique’s Maria Mutola effortlessly sweptto a record sixth world indoors 800 metres title but thefinal day of the Budapest event failed to bring anexpected sprint-and-hurdles double for American GailDevers.
Mutola, 31, surpassed the five indoor world titlesheld by Cuban long jumper Ivan Pedroso to etch her namein history.
Her celebrations were soured, though, when she brandedsilver medallist Jolanda Ceplak pathetic'' after theSlovenian complained she had been pushed by her rivalduring the race. Russia topped the medals table with eight golds, wellahead of the United States who mustered four. Their dominance was underlined with another worldrecord on Sunday when the women's 4x400 metres relayteam, anchored by individual world champion NatalyaNazarova, beat their own best set five years ago to theday. It was the third world record at the championships forRussia's women following new marks in the pole vault andtriple jump on Saturday. Russian Tatyana Lebedeva also confirmed herself as theoutstanding athlete here by adding long jump gold to hertriple jump title and the furthest leap in indoorhistory. Mutola's run of indoor titles began in 1993 and wasonly interrupted six years later when Ludmila Formanovaoutsprinted her. The Czech also beat her to worldoutdoor gold in 1999 but Mutola has not been beaten at amajor championships since. Showing no ill effects from a hip injury sustained ina fall in Birmingham last month, the Olympic and worldchampion overtook Ceplak midway down the back stretch toease home in 1:58.50. I never dreamt that I could win it for the sixthtime,’’ she said. When I first won it in 1993 I washoping for just one or two titles.'' Devers was also bidding to add another milestone toher illustrious career but the 37-year-old found worldoutdoor champion Perdita Felicien just too good in the60 metres hurdles today and had to settle for silver toadd to her sprint gold from Friday. It was a big undertaking,’’ said the vanquishedchampion after narrowly losing her crown to the surprisegold medallist in Paris last year, Canadian Felicienclocking 7.75 to her 7.78 in a head-bob finish.
Her participation at the Athens Olympics is by nomeans certain though, with the sport’s greatest eversprinter-hurdler saying she needed to ``go away and tryand figure out where to go now’’.
The exertions of breaking the women’s world indoortriple jump record twice proved no hindrance to Lebedevawho secured her place in the record books by leaping tolong jump gold and a unique double.
Less than 24 hours after her extraordinary performancewhen she equalled Ashia Hansen’s record and then twiceextended it to a mark of 15.36 metres, Lebedevaunderlined her dominance of the jumping disciplines witha winning mark of 6.98.
Today’s men’s triple jump final also witnessed anothergreat leap when Sweden’s Christian Olsson equalled theworld record of 17.83 metres, first established seven years ago by CubanAliecer Urrutia.
The decision to scrap the 200 metres from futureinternational indoor championships – inside runnersstruggle to stay in lane on the tightly-banked indoorcircuits – was vindicated by the outcome of bothfinals.
Men’s winner Dominic Demeritte from the Bahamas andwomen’s gold medallist Anastasiya Kapachinskaya ofRussia both triumphed from the far outside in lane six.The last-placed runners started from lane one.

Lebedeva does the double
Sunday 7 March 2004

Budapest, Hungary - Over more than a century of Olympic and World championships athletics, there have been many great field event finals, with many more tremendous performances.

Even in the recent history of the sport, the 1968 Olympic Triple Jump final is recalled, in which the lead, and World record, changed hands more than once before Viktor Sanyeev claimed it as his own. The 1991 IAAF World Championship Long Jump showdown between Mike Powell and Carl Lewis is remembered as a tremendous contest, the 1995 Triple Jump final in Gothenburg, where Jonathan Edwards twice broke the World record.

But never before has one athlete managed to set three World records in one competition. Nor has one jumper ever managed to win both the long and triple at a single World Championships, either.

Until, that is, today when Tatyana Lebedeva added the women’s Long Jump to the Triple Jump she had claimed with three World record marks at these 10th IAAF World Indoor Championships here in Budapest on Saturday.

“A dream has come true,” said Lebedeva.

Lebedeva’s weekend’s work was worth a total of $130,000 in prize money and World record bonuses from the IAAF. But now she wants gold - and two lots of it in Athens at this summer’s Olympics.

“I think can try to win both events in Athens,” Lebedeva said, after taking the long jump with 6.98 metres, from her Russian team mate, Tatyana Kotova. “It should be easier in the Olympics. I will get more rest.”

Lebedeva had had a frantic Saturday, needing to qualify for the long jump in the morning before competing in her speciality, the triple jump, in the evening.

“I was afraid of how I might jump today,” she said after the long jump. “I didn’t expect that the triple jump would have affected me so much, but this morning, my whole body ached.

“I felt empty after those World records, physically and mentally.

“My best chance was in the first few jumps.” And so it proved. As she had done on Saturday, Lebedeva dominated her opposition from Round One, where she led with 6.89m, and her second-round 6.98 was only threatened when Kotova cleared 6.93 in the penultimate round, to snatch the silver by one centimetre from Sweden’s Carolina Kluft.

Lebedeva’s extraordinary feat of taking two titles in the action-packed weekend was all the more extraordinary simply because of the tremendous highs she had managed in Saturday’s Triple Jump final.

The basic facts of her performance bear repeating: in the first round, with the lead held at 14.62 metres by Francoise Mbango Etone (CMR), the 27-year-old Lebedeva tore down the runway in her usual, pacy manner, and virtually threw herself off the board and out to 15.16 metres, equalling the six-year-old world best of Britain’s Ashia Hansen.

Less than half an hour later, Lebedeva lined up for her second attempt. The capacity 12,000 crowd waited attentively and clapped rhythmically as she set off. This time, the mark in the sand was measured at 15.25 metres, the World record outright, and 50,000 causes for celebration, in the IAAF’s special dollar bonus for such feats.

Perhaps even Lebedeva was feeling the strain by this stage, though, and she passed the next round, prompting some to assume that she would be satisfied with that.

But far from it: after a 15.15-metre effort in the fourth round, the Russian saved her best for last, with 15.36 metres.

For a woman who missed the entire 2002 season when pregnant with her daughter, Anastasiya, this adds further to her already stellar career, which includes the outdoor world title in 2001 and then again in Paris last year.

“I am really happy,” said Lebedeva.

“I am preparing for the Olympics now, and thought 15.20 was not too much. But now I will see what happens in Athens.”

Lebedeva did not feel she had been able to warm-up as well as she would have liked, but on what is proving to be a very fast horizontal jumps runway, she was able to channel her speed and agility over the three phases of the jump to produce the finest series in the relatively brief history of the women’s event.

“It just seemed to get better and better,” she said. “The crowd powered me to this result.”

Steven Downes for the IAAF

:mad: BUDAPEST, March 8 (AFP) - Maria Mutola was accused ofrough tactics by her main rival after becoming the firstathlete in the 19-year history of the World IndoorChampionships to win six titles.
The imperious Mozambican took the 800 metres goldmedal 11 years after collecting her first World Indoortitle in Toronto, moving ahead of Bulgarian high jumperStefka Kostadinova and Ivan Pedroso of Cuba who werefive-time champions.
But instead of savouring her victory - and another40,000 dollars to swell her bank account - the reigningOlympic champion stood accused by second-placed JolandaCeplak of pushing.
Ceplak believed Mutola had made contact with her asthe Mozambican overtook with 100m to go in Sunday’sfinal.
I have run against Maria many times but I don'tthink she has ever come so close to me as she didtoday,'' the Slovenian told a tense post-race pressconference. She was so close to me, I couldn’t do anything. Istopped a little and then started sprinting again.’’
Mutola reacted angrily to the accusations from anathlete who has been involved in jostling in the past -although it did appear there had been some contact.
I think that is pathetic, I ran a clean race,'' saidMutola. I did not push her, it was just accidentalcontact.
This is a very special win for me. I never dreamed Icould win the title six times.'' Mutola won in 1min 58.50 to Ceplak's 1:58.72 with JoFenn of Britain third. With the Athens Olympics just six months away, it isdifficult to see who can seriously trouble the31-year-old Mozambican in her bid to retain the 800metres title she won in Sydney. Her eternal rival Stephanie Graf of Austria hasretired and the peroxide blonde Ceplak, who holds theworld indoor record, is the next best thing. Mutola, who is based in South Africa, said the indoorseason had always served as ideal preparation for themore important outdoor programme and she saw no reasonto change her plans. I have been doing the indoor and outdoor seasonssince 1992 when I was in high school in the US and ithas always worked for me. I love competing.’’
With six indoor world titles, three outdoor worldcrowns, an Olympic gold and the million-dollar GoldenLeague bonus to her name, only the world records haveeluded her.
The 800m world record of 1:53.28 set by JarmilaKratochvilova of the former Czechoslovakia is now 21years old - but is tarnished by its association with thesystematic doping programmes of the former Communistbloc.
Mutola diplomatically refused to back calls for thatrecord to be wiped from the books.
I know it is very hard to beat the world record,''she said. As an athlete you must always believe youcan break it but if I end my career without thathappening I will still be very, very happy.’’