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|August 26, 2000||
Spanish 1,500m star chasing OIympic fitness
Former Olympic 1,500 metres champion Fermin Cacho is in a race against time to get fit for the Sydney Games.
Cacho, Olympic gold medallist in 1992 and silver medallist in 1996, has withdrawn from Saturday's Golden League meeting in Brussels.
The 31-year-old Spanish runner will now make his first competitive appearance of the season in Padua on Sunday, only three weeks before the Sydney Games begin.
"I will go to Sydney only if I can see myself in the final," he told reporters. "If I'm not in form I will withdraw."
Coach Enrique Pascual believes that Cacho can still make it. "There is still enough time for him to get properly prepared for Sydney," Pascual said.
Cacho took the 1,500 metres silver medal at last year's world championships in Seville but hardly trained over the winter.
He openly admits that he was short of motivation and had other things on his mind apart from athletics. "I was training but I wasn't pushing myself," he said.
"I had won Olympic gold and silver medals, had been runner-up in the world championships and European record holder. My wife was expecting a baby and then I got injured."
It was only in May that Cacho began training seriously once again, but without the vital winter foundation.
He is now desperately trying to make up for lost time. His aim on Sunday is to run the 1,500 in three minutes 37 seconds.
Even if things do not go well this year, the runner from the Castillian town of Soria -- home also to marathon world champion Abel Anton -- has one more card up his sleeve.
"Next year I will be better rested and I will concentrate on the 5,000 metres. Then in 2002 I will go for the gold at the European championships. That would certainly be a good way to retire."
Mail Sports Editor
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