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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Bett sizzles in Zatopek 10 while Josh Ross says the best is yet to come

Bett sizzles in Zatopek 10 while Josh Ross says the best is yet to come

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http://www.theage.com.au/sport/athletics/bett-sizzles-to-beat-hot-st-lawrence-20121208-2b2y4.html#ixzz2EVGF88Hl


Bett sizzles to beat hot St Lawrence
By Michael Gleeson
The Age
December 9, 2012


ONE man knew he could win the race. One man thought he might be able to beat him. The man with the greater conviction won. This was not, however, a tale of a triumph of confidence but one of fitness and form.

Emmanuel Bett has been the fastest man in the world over 10,000 metres this year and he was always to be the man to beat. Ben St Lawrence was the two-time national title-holder, the quickest Australian ever over the distance and the man inclined to deny Bett. He ran well, but conditions and an indefatigable Kenyan beat him.

St Lawrence won his third straight national title while Bett successfully defended his Zatopek title, but in awkward, gusty conditions Bett could not threaten the race record he had come here to challenge.

He finished in 27 minutes 59.32 seconds, while St Lawrence ran 28:35.92.

St Lawrence might have been the only man with the ability to challenge Bett, but he was certainly the only man with the appetite for the contest when he chased the Kenyan out from the start.

''I made the decision today that it was better to die trying than be angry with myself for not giving it a shot,'' St Lawrence said.

''You don't know until you get out and after a couple of k's I thought, 'This is OK, I am rolling along OK' and then he just put in a very subtle surge and that was enough to tip me over the edge. I tried to keep my own rhythm going there for a while but it is tough out there on your own from such a long way out.''

St Lawrence was folded in mid-race by a group of three Australians and visiting Briton Ben Moreau . The group had a battle for second place and, Moreau aside, the national title.

St Lawrence was able to surge over the last lap to win the battle. Moreau finished third, ahead of Australians Mitch Brown and Brett Robinson.

''If you add my fives [five-kilometre races] in there I have now won the last five national championships I have entered so I am on a good trot there,'' he said. ''Collis [Birmingham] and [Craig] Mottram and [Dave] McNeill and some of the big names were not there tonight but you have to show up if you want to get the titles and I am really happy to get five. If you told me a little while ago I would be a five-time national champion I would be pretty happy with that.

''It is a matter now of trying to take it to the next level on the big stage.''

The relaxation of the stringent qualifying rules that applied for the London Olympics has immediately opened the door to Lara Tamsett to qualify for the world championships in Moscow next year.

Tamsett won her second national title after being the first Australian across the line in the 10,000 metres and in so doing qualified to run in Russia. Having already run a B-qualifying time this year, Tamsett needed to win the national title to satisfy the IAAF qualifying rules.

American Neely Spence won in a time of 32 minutes 16 seconds, ahead of Tamsett and Linda Spencer while Olympic marathon runner Jess Trengove crossed the line in fourth.

Two Ugandan runners who were due to compete in the men's 10,000 metres did not make it to Melbourne for the race after missing their connecting flight in Dubai.

Earlier in the night, just minutes after a cool change had gusted through Melbourne, Josh Ross fought the sort of southerly headwind he has seemingly been pounding into for several years to win the quaintly historic 100 yard sprint.

Ross had arrived for the Olympics only months ago disillusioned with his sport, but only weeks later left London re-energised and determined to run quicker than he ever has. Last night's workmanlike 9.82 seconds in difficult conditions in an out-of-season race was proof of his determination

''I am not giving excuses,'' Ross said. ''I am not ready to run fast now but I am looking forward towards the world champs, as every athlete is.''

Ross has won six national titles and has a personal best 10.08 seconds, which is the third fastest by an Australian behind Patrick Johnson (9.93) and Matt Shirvington (10.03).

''Getting out there in London … I soaked it up and I want that feeling again. I want to be on the world stage running better than I have and the best is yet to come for me definitely.''

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