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Sullivan chasing triple glory in New Delhi

Sonia O'Sullivan (IAAF)Sonia O'Sullivan (IAAF) © Copyright

Sonia O'Sullivan will chase a unique hat-trick when New Delhi stages the 13th IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships on Sunday.

The Irish star already holds global track and cross-country gold medals, having won the 5000 metres title nine years ago and both the long and short all-terrain races in 1998.

"I have not won an IAAF title on the road so that would be something nice to achieve," said O'Sullivan, running her last race of the summer season.

O'Sullivan has bounced back to form after a stomach upset ruined her Olympic track ambitions over 5000m, the distance where she claimed the silver medal in Sydney.

"The Olympic Games didn't go the way they should have done for me," said the Irish record-holder at every distance from 800m to the half-marathon.

"I took a short break and re-adjusted my programme. That's why I've come to Delhi," added O'Sullivan after calling her track season to a halt after she fell ill in Athens.

She added: "After a hard track season road races are enjoyable and hopefully I'll also get in some cross-country races this winter as well."

O'Sullivan, 34, who came close to retirement after her Olympic woes, has quickly bounced back since finishing last in the Games 5000m final.

At the beginning of last month she looked her old self when easily beating Derartu Tulu, the two-times Olympic 10,000m champion and this year's bronze medallist.

O'Sullivan stunned the Ethiopian with her finishing speed towards the end of their 5k road-race clash in the Flora Lite women's race which she won in 15minutes 06seconds.

Then the Irish star finished sixth in the BUPA Great North Run, the world's biggest half-marathon.

O'Sullivan said: "The opposition in the Great North was awesome, but I managed to run under 69 minutes which was my target, so I decided to come and race in Delhi."

Sun Yingjie is expected to be the biggest challenger in the 13.1-mile race which will be held in searing heat.

China's world 10,000m bronze medallist has been in outstanding form in recent weeks, her programme including a 5,000m and 10,000m double at the Chinese Sports Students Games.

"Obviously she is going to be a tough opponent but I'll be keeping an eye on everyone, especially the African runners," said O'Sullivan.

In the men’s competition, Kenya’s John Cheruiyot Korir expressed his confidence that Kenya would be able to win back the team title it lost to Tanzania last year.

“We have a very strong team and we are looking forward to winning the title again. It is not bad that we lost the title last year, these things happen in sport and it is right that others have the chance to win.”