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General News Bologna, Italy

Shami tunes-up for Debrecen

Qatar's World Half Marathon silver medallist Mubarak Hassan Shami and Algeria's Souad Ait Salem set a double course record yesterday at 5th Run Tune Up, half marathon held in Bologna (3). Both of them are going to take part at the IAAF Road Race World Championships in Debrecen on 8 October.

Shami, who made a strong move at 14km (2:42 the split) to be followed just by Kenya's Philemon Kipkering and then another one at 18km to remain alone at the lead, close with a time of 1:02:46. The previous record was set by Kenya Samwel Nganga last year with 1:03:29. The course was not so fast, as it crossed the historical center of the beatiful Italian city, with many slight up-and-downs, bends and stones.

"During last week I could not train from Tuesday to Friday because of a little pain to the Achilles tendon," Shami revealed after the race. "However, now I'm ok. I just controlled the race in the first part, then pushed to win, and I did it."

Since his race in Scicli on 19 August (3rd behind Martin Lel and Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot), Shami has been training in Sankt Moritz with his coach Renato Canova and steeplechase star Saif Saaeed Shaheen. "Now it's getting cold and the courses are too hard, probably I will come back to Kenya," said Shami, whose name was Richard Yatich before changing nationality from Kenya to Qatar.

About his participation in Debrecen, after he lost the World title last year after cheering too early (just on the finish line Tanzania's Fabiano Joseph overtook him), he just said that "there will be many strong rivals, but my goal is the gold medal."

Souad Ait Salem ran alone from the beginning of the race at his own pace. She closed with a time of 1:13:08, 1:24 better than the time Italy's Tiziana Alagia ran in 2004. "I'm training well at home in Algeria and I feel in a very good shape," said Ait Salem, who last January set his PB on the distance with a 1:10:26 second place in Marrakech.

Alberto Zorzi for the IAAF

Selected Results (21,097km)

Men's race
1. Mubarak Hassan Shami, QAT, 1:02:46
2. Philemon Kipkering, KEN, 1:03:13
3. Joseph Lomala, KEN, 1:03:59
4. Daniel Limo, KEN, 1:04:12
5. Slimani Kaddour, MAR, 1:04:25

Women's race
1. Souad Ait Salem, ALG, 1:13:08
2. Vincenza Sicari, ITA, 1:13:45
3. Hafida Izem, MAR, 1:13:55