02 MAY 2002 General News Brussels, Belgium

Injured Mourhit still aiming high

Injured Mourhit still aiming high
3 May 2002 – Brussels, Belgium – Mohammed Mourhit, Belgium’s strongest male medal contender for Sunday’s World Half Marathon Championships, said this afternoon that he entertained modest hopes for victory in the event.

Mourhit broke his wrist a month ago and has just had the plaster removed, putting him well behind in his training schedule.

“I have lost a lot of time. I just had the plaster off yesterday so that has really messed up my training programme,” he confided.

But veteran Mourhit watchers will not be too dismayed by the announcement: the athlete has been injured before and risen mightily to the occasion nonetheless.

In the mud and driving rain of Ostend last year Mourhit successfully defended his World Cross Country title to the delight of the Belgian crowd. It was a particularly satisfying result for the organisers, who had taken over the Championships with just three weeks notice after the Foot and Mouth epidemic forced the original hosts, Dublin, to cancel the event in extremis.

At this year’s edition of the World Cross Country, Mourhit was unable to finish the course and withdrew, and now this new injury has come to plague the Belgian.

But this has not dampened his enthusiasm for competition: “It was a bad day for me in Dublin, but I have put this behind me and have continued to train as much as possible since then. Anyway, I prefer the longer races like the half marathon. I have good endurance and these distances suit me better.”

“I have a lot of experience in the half marathon. I have run just about every major half marathon that there is and I have always been very consistent with times of between one hour and 61 minutes.” (Mourhit’s best performance dates back to 1997 in the 6th IAAF World Half Marathon Championships with a fifth place time of 1:00:18)

“But you should not expect a really fast performance from me on Sunday. I will do my best and unless I really have a major injury I will finish the race in the best possible time. For me it is important to participate and also do what I can towards the team.”

Mourhit is not overly worried about the competition: “I haven’t even looked at the entry lists,” he admitted, “I just know that the competition will be stiff as the Federations enter their best people.”

And with just a hint of a smile, when asked about his objectives for the race he says: “It is not the easiest of courses, there are stretches that go up and down a fair bit, but I reckon that I can run between 60-61 minutes.”

Will the real McCoy stand up.