Ethiopian Gebrselassie Smashes 10,000 Record

From Staff and Wire Reports

Haile Gebrselassie cut five seconds off the world track record for 10,000 meters with a clocking of 26 minutes 22.7 seconds, highlighting the Adriaan Paulen Memorial meet Monday at Hengelo, the Netherlands.

Gebrselassie ran the last nine laps with only lapped runners for company after the last of the five Ethiopian countrymen he brought with him to set the pace dropped out.

Gebrselassie broke the mark of 26:27.85 set by Kenyan Paul Tergat in Brussels on Aug. 27.

Earlier in the meet, African runners turned in three season-best times over the middle distances.

Kenyan Wilson Boit Kipketer won the 3,000 meters in 7:36.05, beating Moroccan Brahim Lahlafi in a close finish.

Kenyans finished 1-2-3 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in the order of Bernard Barmassai at 8:11.57, followed by Julius Chelule and Patrick Sang. Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj had the season's best time in the 1,500 meters, winning in 3:31.19.


Distance runner Amy Skieresz of Arizona was selected winner of the Honda Award as track's top female athlete for a second consecutive year.


Jose Pedraza, a Mexican who thrilled his countrymen at the 1968 Olympics with a late charge that won the silver medal in the 20-kilometer walk, died of hepatitis on Monday in Mexico City. He was 61.

Pro Football

San Francisco 49er wide receiver Jerry Rice, entering his 14th season after missing most of 1997 because of reconstructive surgery on his left knee, attended the team's first day of mini-camp and participated in some individual drills.

"He's making good progress," San Francisco Coach Steve Mariucci said. "He's right on schedule and will be ready to go when training camp opens in July."

Rice, who holds 13 NFL records, including the all-time mark for touchdowns scored, left camp without speaking to reporters.

Denver Bronco quarterback John Elway said that the lure of repeating as Super Bowl champion was why he will return for his 16th season.

"The bottom line is I wasn't ready to quit competing," said Elway, who will turn 38 later this month. "I could not imagine sitting around and not doing anything while still being relatively young."

As expected, the Pittsburgh Steelers waived former starting cornerback Donnell Woolford, a move that frees up $825,000 under the salary cap and saves them paying his $1.15 million salary.

Additionally, the Steelers released former Maryland guard Aaron Henne and signed former University of Pittsburgh offensive lineman Tony Orlandini. They also rescinded their contract offer to tight end Kirk Botkin, a free agent who apparently needs knee surgery. . . . The Washington Redskins, in need of depth along the offensive line, signed free-agent guard Joe Cocozzo. He last played for the San Diego Chargers.

Washington State will dedicate next football season to late defensive lineman Leon Bender, Coach Mike Price said at a memorial service in Pullman, Wash. Bender, a second-round draft choice of the Oakland Raiders found dead in his agent's Georgia home over the weekend, was a key member of last year's Rose Bowl team.


Rosie Jones recovered from consecutive bogeys down the stretch to win the LPGA Rochester (N.Y.) International.

Picking up on the back nine after thunderstorms forced the suspension of final-round play Sunday, Jones reopened a four-stroke lead and then settled down to complete an even-par round of 72 and finish at nine-under 279, two ahead of Juli Inkster.

Jones, 38, won the Rochester International in 1991 and lost in a playoff to Kathy Whitworth in 1984.

Tiger Woods withdrew from this week's Kemper Open in Potomac, Md., because of a bad back. Woods, who finished 17 shots behind winner Fred Couples in the Memorial Tournament on Sunday, is scheduled to see Dr. Keith Kleven, a Las Vegas back specialist, this week.

England's Lee Westwood made a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to end Darren Clarke's late charge and win the TPC of Europe by a stroke at Alveslohe, Germany. Westwood, a Ryder Cup player, closed with a six-under-par 66 to finish at 265 in winning his second title of the year.


Despite the planned departure of eight schools to form their own league, the Western Athletic Conference plans to survive in some form, according to the school presidents attending the WAC board of directors' three-day meetings at Pebble Beach.

The schools left behind were SMU, San Jose State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Rice, Texas Christian, Texas El Paso and Tulsa.

Lisa Leslie scored 26 points and the unbeaten United States routed Russia, 96-60, giving the Russian basketball team its first loss at the Women's World Championships at Bremen, Germany. . . Teun de Nooijer scored in overtime to give the Netherlands a 3-2 victory over Spain for its third field hockey World Cup at Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Randy Harvey is on assignment.

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