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COMPETITION SLOWS DOWN ON FINAL DAY OF CONTEST

SHARE COMPETITION SLOWS DOWN ON FINAL DAY OF CONTEST

Slow was the name of the game on the final day of the European Championships on Sunday, where the tactical racing that often pervades major championships reached an all-time low.

"What a race!" Russia's Ludmila Rogachova said after winning the slowest 1,500-meter final in the event's history. "I thought we were walkers."Rogachova's time of 4 minutes, 18.93 seconds was the slowest for a winner since the distance was added in 1969. The previous slowest was 4:10.7 in 1969.

The women weren't the only ones going slow, however.

In the men's 5,000 final, Olympic champion Dieter Baumann of Germany's winning time of 13:36.93 was almost 40 seconds off the world record.

Rob Denmark of Britain was second in 13:37.50, and Abel Anton of Spain, who won the 10,000 meters last Sunday, added a bronze medal in 13:38.04.

The women's 1,500 runners looked like they were setting out for a marathon, and many of the 42,000 fans at soldout Olympic Stadium jeered during the first laps. Rogachova also received a chilly response as she ran her lap of honor.

Her victory gave Russia 10 gold medals in addition to its eight silvers and seven bronze. Russia's 25 medals paced the championships.

Britain was second with six golds among its 13 medals, Germany was third with five golds and 14 overall, and France had four golds and nine total.

Kelly Holmes of Britain nipped Yekaterina Podkopayeva of Russia to win the silver medal in the women's 1,500 in 4:19.30. Podkopayeva, a 42-year-old veteran, was another seven hundredths of a second behind.

Marie-Jose Perec joined Irina Privalova as the only women's double gold medalists, leading France to victory in the 1,600-meter relay.

Perec, who won the 400-meters, followed Francine Landre, Viviane Dorsile and Evelyne Elien for the French, who clocked 3:22.34.

"All the girls ran great today," said Perec, the Olumpic and world 400-meters champion. "My job is easy. I only had to keep the other team behind me."

Russia was second in 3:22.34, followed by Germany in 3:24.10.

Du'aine Ladejo became the only men's double champion as Britain took the men's 1,600 relay in 2:59.13.

Ladejo, winner of the individual one-lap race, ran the anchor leg for the British team. David McKenzie, Brian Whittle and Roger Black, who was second in the individual 400 final, ran the other legs.

France was second in 3:01.11 and Russia third in 3:03.10 after both were originally disqualified and restored after a protest.

The men's 800 also was a slow and tactical race, with Andrea Benvenuti of Italy outkicking Vebjorn Rodal of Norway by .41.

Benvenuti's time was 1:46.12. Rodal, who led coming into the stretch, was more than three seconds off his European-best 1:43.50 set earlier this season.

"I hoped to win and forget the injury in Stuttgart," said Benvenuti, who was knocked out of last year's World Championships by a foot injury.

Tomas de Teresa of Spain was another four hundredths of a second behind in third place.

Martin Fiz broke away with a few kilometers left and gave Spain its first-ever championship in the men's marathon.

Fiz, who made his marathon debut only last year, covered the course in 2:10.31, just 10 seconds off his best, set in this year's Boston Marathon.

Diego Garcia finished 15 seconds behind and Alberto Juzdado completed a Spanish sweep of the top three in 2:11.18.

Garcia's previous best finish in a major marathon was ninth in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

"The Spanish team trained very hard for this race for three months," he said. "We knew we would be tough, but did not expect three medals."

The only other medal sweep in these championships came Saturday, when Alexander Klimenko led an Ukrainian 1-2-3 finish in the men's shot put.

Vladimir Dubrovshchik of Belarus edged Dmitry Shevchenko of Russia by eight inches to win the men's discus final with a toss of 212-6.

Jurgen Schult of Germany won the bronze at 210-7.

Britta Bilac of Slovenia won the women's high jump, clearing 6-63/4. Yelena Gulyayeva of Russia was second at 6-5 and Nele Zilinskiene of Lithuania was third at 6-4.