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Singapore Marathon

Constantina Dita wins Singapore Marathon


Three national records in the last six months have helped dispel the reputation that Constantina Dita built with her crash and burn performance in the world championship marathon in Edmonton last year. And the Romanian is ready to add another title to her growing collection in the revamped Singapore Marathon, sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank on Sunday morning.

At 30k in Edmonton, the Romanian had a two-minute lead on her competitors, but could only finish tenth, albeit in a personal best of 2hr 30min 38sec, while her colleague Lidia Simon powered to victory. But Dita maintains that if a recurring leg problem had not flared up at 33k, she would have won. "All the way through, I was thinking, Im the winner, Im the winner. But for the leg, I would have won".

Regular acupuncture since then has kept the problem at bay, and Ditas performances have given substance to her claim. Three months after Edmonton, she improved her best by four minutes in the Tokyo Womens Marathon, and two months ago, she slashed another three minutes off that, with 2.23.54, to finish second to former world 10,000 metres champion, Gete Wami of Ethiopia, in the Amsterdam Marathon. In the interim, she had broken national records for 10k, 15k, and the Half-Marathon. All of which has underlined her pre-selection for both the World Championships in Paris next summer, and the Athens Olympics in 2004.

"In Amsterdam, I weakened in the last two kilometres, when I was running on 2.20 - 2.21 pace, but Im getting stronger, and I hope to run under 2.20, either in London in Spring, or in Paris. That sort of time is not possible in Singapore, because of the humidity, it made us quite dizzy when we arrived". Fortunately for Dita, who is the star attraction in Singapore, the new, flat shady course, and the 6.30am start will alleviate some of the atmospheric problems, and with top Kenyan performer, Hellen Kimaiyo as competition, the course record of 2.39.03 is due for substantial revision.

Pat Butcher

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