Marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe ran the third-fastest women's 5,000 meters in history yesterday, winning at the European Cup in Bydgoszcz, Poland, in her first time on a track in two years following hernia surgery.
Radcliffe, a 30-year-old Briton, led from the start and had spectators standing and cheering. She finished in 14 minutes 29.11 seconds, less than five seconds behind Elvan Abeylegesse's world record of 14:24.68.
"I had it in my head to go faster than I've ever done before, but I didn't set a specific time," said Radcliffe, who resumed training in April. "I just wanted to run hard, ask some questions and get some answers."
The Russian women won their eighth straight title at the European Cup, which pits Europe's top eight track and field nations against each other. Germany won the men's title.
Radcliffe last ran on a track while winning the 10,000 at the European championships in August 2002, her first major title at that distance. Then she twice broke the marathon record.
* COLLEGE BASEBALL: Jordan Brown looked more like the No. 3 hitter he used to be in Arizona's order rather than the No. 8 batter he was yesterday.
Brown hit two of his team's four home runs in a 7-2 victory over Arkansas in a College World Series elimination game in Omaha.
"To me, as long as I'm playing on a stage like this, where I'm hitting doesn't really mean much as long as I get my hacks," said Brown, who was 0 for 13 in a super regional against Long Beach State.
Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn became the only coach to lose his first six games in the College World Series. He lost four straight games with Nebraska in 2001 and '02.
"If you had told me at the beginning of the year we were going to win 45 games and go to Omaha and lose two, I would have taken it in a second and been the happiest man in the country," Van Horn said. "Next year we'll be better, and hopefully we'll be back."
Arizona, meantime, will play Georgia on Tuesday. Texas has the inside track to a spot in the best-of-three championship series following its 9-3 victory over the Bulldogs last night. The Longhorns (57-13) will advance to the championship series it they defeat Tuesday's winner.
* SOCCER: Former powerhouse Fiorentina returned to Italy's top division by overcoming Perugia on a 2-1 aggregate score in their playoff for a Serie A berth.
The Florentine team, which had been relegated to the third division in 2002 after it went bankrupt, held visiting Perugia to a 1-1 tie in the second leg yesterday to capitalize on a 1-0, first-leg away victory last week. About 45,000 partisan fans went wild as Fiorentina regained a Serie A spot following a two-year relegation.
The team was founded in 1926 and has won six Italian Cups and two Serie A titles.
* CYCLING: Jan Ullrich of Germany won the Tour de Suisse by one second, overcoming a 41-second deficit in the final stage by capturing the time trial in Lugano, Switzerland.
"I couldn't have ridden any faster," Ullrich said. "I didn't think that I could make it. I thought I would finish 10 seconds behind."
Ullrich, who edged Switzerland's Fabian Jeker for the title, was using the Swiss race as a warmup for the Tour de France. He won cycling's premier event in 1997 and next month hopes to end Lance Armstrong's streak of five straight victories.
Ullrich held the leader's yellow jersey in the Tour de Suisse until Friday, when Jeker overtook him.
-- From News Services