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General News Johannesburg, South Africa

Car crash robs Europe of rising distance star

One of Europe's leading endurance running prospects, 24-year-old Londoner Sam Haughian, has died after a car crash on Friday night in Johannesburg (23 April).

Haughian was in the final week of a warm-weather training campaign to prepare for a tilt at the 5000 metres in this summer's Olympic Games.

His physiotherapist Rebecca Wills was injured in the accident and is in hospital. Two other Great Britain internationals Anthony Whiteman and Neil Speaight are maintaining a vigil at her bedside.

UK Athletics chief executive David Moorcroft said: "This is tragic news and difficult to take in. Sam was an extremely talented athlete, determined and yet such a humble and pleasant young man."

Zara Hyde Peters, head of potential for UK Athletics, said: ``Sam was one of my three musketeers along with Chris Thompson and Mo Farah, who were training in South Africa with him until a couple of days ago.

"So many people have been so negative about our endurance running standards and Sam was one of the bright spots. He was a club runner, a team player and a world class athlete in the making."

The best year of Haughian's career was in 2002 when the Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow runner won the AAA 10,000m title and finished fifth in the Commonwealth Games 5,000m.

In the previous winter he finished sixth at the European Cross Country Championships.