Zola Budd Is Beaten in 3,000 Meters at Ulster Games by American Beckford

Associated Press

U.S. miler Darlene Beckford bettered her previous best time for the 3,000 meters by nearly 16 seconds to finish 15 meters ahead of Britain’s Zola Budd at the Ulster Games Monday night.

Beckford was timed in 8:58.40 as the 19-year-old Budd was beaten in her specialty event before a stunned crowd of 7,000 at the Mary Peters Stadium.

Beckford, a 23-year-old psychology graduate of Harvard, originally wanted to run the 1,500 or 800 meters. “I don’t usually run 3,000 meters and I knew Zola was running,” she said, “but if I had come in last, nobody would have noticed.”

Budd said: “I can’t explain it but I just felt bad all the way through. But I still intend to run the 1,500 meters for Britain at Gateshead on Saturday.”


The South African-born runner, who became a British citizen nearly 15 months ago in order to run in the Los Angeles Olympics, added: “I would have preferred a smaller race to start my season.

“This was a difficult one--but there are no excuses.”

Britain’s Steve Ovett comfortably won the mile in 3:56--his second victory in two days.

Ovett, 29, easily held off the late challenge of Ireland’s Marcus O’Sullivan.


Welsh runner Kirsty McDermott, 22, who almost quit track a year ago when she failed to make the British Olympic team, finished only a stride behind world record-holder Jarmila Kratochvilova in the 800 meters.