Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sonia Set to Turn Up Heat

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sonia Set to Turn Up Heat

Article excerpt

Byline: By David Martin

Sonia O'Sullivan, a past winner of several IAAF World Championship titles, chases yet another over the half-marathon distance in New Delhi on tomorrow.

The Irishwoman possesses the classiest pedigree in the field for the 13.1 miles race being staged very early in the morning to help counter the torrid heat of the Indian city.

O'Sullivan insists she is back in form to make a genuine challenge for another gold medal, after a disappointing Olympics where sickness prevented her making an impact over 5,000 metres.

Four years earlier she was runner-up in Sydney, but a badly upset stomach saw her finish last and, at one very low point just afterwards, she considered quitting.

But O'Sullivan's tenacity has seen her bounce back in the six weeks that have elapsed since that awful night in Athens Olympic Stadium.

O'Sullivan, boosted by support from her very loyal Irish fans, showed she is still a major force to be reckoned with after a confidence-boosting victory in early September.

The former World 5,000m gold medallist won the Flora Lite Women's Challenge over that distance on the pathways of London's Hyde Park in world-class time.

More importantly she defeated Derartu Tulu, the two-time Olympic 10,000m champion and bronze medallist in Athens and World Cross Country title holder, Benita Johnson.

Then, last Sunday, O'Sullivan finished sixth in the BUPA Great North Run in a world class field very much stronger than the one which will line up in New Delhi.

"I'd already thought about running in Delhi before the Great North and set myself a target of 69 minutes up there," she said.

"I dipped under the time and that told me as I have still got plenty of running in my legs, it would be worthwhile making the trip.

"Running in the hot conditions doesn't bother me, in fact I tend to cope easily with the heat," said O'Sullivan, who six years ago became the first-ever athlete to score a World Cross Country long and short course double. …

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