The Olympics 2004: I WANT TO RUN IT; BRAVE PAULA PINS HOPES ON 10,000M - Marathon Star Targets 'Greatest Comeback in History'
Byline: JOHN CROSS and JANE RIDLEY
PAULA Radcliffe says she wants to go for gold in the Olympic 10,000 metres final on Friday.
She is desperate to make up for her failure to finish the marathon in which she was expected to triumph.
After a tearful and traumatic three days, she has told friends: "I'll run."
But the final decision could now depend on medical opinion.
The 30-year-old British star saw a doctor yesterday and was "sleeping on his advice" before making a decision today on whether or not to run.
But as she prepared for what could be the biggest sporting comeback in history, her parents delivered their support.
Her father Peter told the Daily Mirror: "Paula will bounce back. She is a very determined character and whatever she decides, we'll back her."
Paula is already feeling fitter and stronger following her gruelling marathon ordeal in the searing heat of Athens.
UK Athletics coaching supremo Max Jones revealed: "She is being monitored daily, she is getting better daily."
And privately she has resolved to run the race of her life in pursuit of the medal she craves - both for herself and Team GB.
Even if she misses out on glory, the girl from Bedford wants to prove that she has the grit to cross the finishing line.
Yesterday her mother Pat, 56, described the anguish of watching her daughter break down and collapse on Sunday in what should have been the crowning event of her brilliant career.
"We are desperately proud of Paula but utterly devastated that things didn't turn out how she'd hoped," said Pat, speaking at her hotel near the Marathon start line, 26 miles east of Athens.
"My first instinct was to dash out and wrap my arms around my little girl. It's the reaction any parent would have.
"It was an awful thing for a mother to see her daughter suffering like that. We were extremely upset and worried.
"The feeling of helplessness was horrendous. We didn't know where she was for what seemed like ages."
Paula's family had gathered at the finish line at the Panathinaiko Stadium and were watching the action on the giant screen.
As soon as they saw her faltering, they rushed to leave the venue but officials wouldn't let them out.
"It was terrible because we felt so powerless," said Pat. "All the roads were blocked off so we couldn't get a taxi or a bus or anything to get to Paula."
Peter and his son-in-law Gary Lough, who also coaches Paula, frantically tried to find out what was happening.
"The screen wasn't telling us anything," said the 57-year-old businessman. "All we'd seen were the same pictures as everyone else of Paula sitting on that kerb."
They finally received news Paula was safe from their friends, Jane Caine and Melanie Hare, who scooped up the distraught athlete from the roadside. …