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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Mottram 'Back in Town' with great WCC run

Mottram 'Back in Town' with great WCC run

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1 Mottram 'Back in Town' with great WCC run on Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:43 am



Mottram on the right track
By Nicole Jeffery
The Australian
March 22, 2011

RESURRECTED distance star Craig Mottram took another significant step in his return from an ankle injury with a 21st-place finish in the world cross country championships in Spain yesterday.

At his peak, when he broke the African monopoly to win bronze in the 5000m at the 2005 world titles, Mottram earned the nickname Big Mzungu (big white man) from his African rivals.

He showed he was not far from earning that respect again in Spain, as one of only two non-African athletes to finish in the top 21 over the 12km course. The other was Spanish favourite Ayad Lamdassem in 16th.

As usual, Kenyan and Ethiopian runners dominated. Ethiopian Imana Marga defied four Kenyans to win his first world title in 33min 50sec, from Paul Tanui (33:52) and Vincent Kiprop Chepkok (33.53).

Mottram began conservatively but ran through the field over the closing laps to finish strongly in 35:33.

It was his best result in the event since 2004, when he finished 13th. In the lead-up to his world-titles bronze in 2005, he finished 22nd, which suggests he now has the foundation to make another run at this year's world titles in August-September.

Mottram's coach Chris Wardlaw said the distance specialist was showing clear signs of improvement in his return to competition.

"This is a big step forward, a much better run than his 5000m in Melbourne (where he finished second in the Australia championship)," Wardlaw said. "He finished it much better than I thought he would and the last half was terrific. It shows we're on track, which is the main thing, and he pulled up well. It's a big confidence-booster for all of us."

Wardlaw said Mottram would return to Melbourne to run the 1500m at the national titles next month before travelling to the US to try for world championships qualification in the 5000m at Stanford University on May 1.

Commonwealth Games representative David McNeill was the next-best Australian yesterday in 42nd.

A back injury has hindered national 5000m champion Ben St Lawrence's progress since his breakthrough performance in Melbourne two weeks ago, and he faded to finish 68th.

In the women's race, Lara Tamsett was the best-placed Australian in 29th, with Eloise Wellings in 40th.

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