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Event Report Men Marathon

He may have come into these championships without high acclaim but Jaouad GHARIB from Morocco leaves with a World title and a new Championship record of 2:08:31, surpassing the old mark which had stood since 1983, courtesy of a fast second half of the race.

Spain's Julio REY won silver in 2:08:38 while Stefano BALDINI's strong finish in the last kilometre earned the Italian a bronze with 2:09:14.
 
In cool and wet conditions, Gharib and Rey had been running with Kenya's Michael ROTICH from the 35km point. Rotich was dropped and Rey was content to sit on Gharib except for one small surge to which Gharib responded.
 
Gharib and Rey entered the tunnel to the stadium side by side but when they emerged onto the track, the Moroccan had opened a five metre lead which he extended to 50m by the time he crossed the line.
 
Baldini had been running in a group of four in the closing stages of the race, alongside fellow Italian Daniele CAIMMI, Shigeru ABURAYA (JAP) and Alberto CHAICA (POR). The experienced international competitor kicked and passed a fading Rotich for his second consecutive World Championship bronze medal.
 
Gharib was the athlete who made the most decisive move to split the long-stadning lead pack of 30 athletes. His surge at the 30 kilometre mark followed earlier surges from pre-race favourite ROTICH, team mate Frederick CHERONO, Tereje WODAJO (ETH) and South Africa's Hendrick RAMAALA. These breaks served only to test the field without making any real impact.

Gharib's surge, however, took the field through the next 5km interval in 14:45 after consistent splits around 15 minutes.
 
Rey actually went to the front in the opening kilometres of the race with Angola's Jaoa N'TYAMABA. The Angolan had an altercation with some of the Ethiopians which resulted in light blows being exchanged, before he dropped off the pace.
 
The expected Ethiopian threat did not materialise as Olympic and World champion Gezahegne ABERA dropped out of the race before 30km and their highest placed finisher was Ambesse TOLOSSA in 19th. ROTICH faded badly in the last three kilometres and finished eighth in 2:10:35.
 
Japan won the team title with ABURAYA, Atsushi SATO and Ogata TSUYOSHI, beating the Italian team of Baldini, Caimmi and Alberico DI CECCO. The South African trio of Ian SYSTER, Ramaala and Gert THYS was third.