Bucher provides Switzerland with historic win

The Swiss, André Bucher, was the first to cross the finish line in the 800 metres event Keystone

The Swiss middle-distance runner, André Bucher, is the first Swiss athlete to win any event at the Weltklasse athletics meeting in Zurich on Friday, since 1993.

This content was published on August 12, 2000 - 20:52

André Bucher, who has already booked his place at the Olympic Games in Sydney, confirmed his outstanding form with victory in the 800 metres in 1'43"72.

With reference to his early lead in the race, Bucher said: "The way I ran, just in front of the field, was very risky and it was a very hard fight till the end. I am happy to win in Zurich".

Commenting on the overall performance of the Swiss athletes, Bucher said: "It was a bit of a Swiss day. Many people took their Sydney ticket in the last minute."

Bucher's performance was only one highlight of an evening full of surprises.

Switzerland's middle-distance runner, Anita Weyermann, completed an impressive night for Swiss athletes by qualifying for the Olympics.

At the prestigious Weltklasse meeting in Zurich, Weyermann ran the 1500 metres in 4'05"38. Although she only came in tenth, she was comfortably within the qualifying time of 4'08.

In a post race interview, the Bernese athlete said: "I knew that if I didn't qualify tonight, things would be very difficult so I gave it everything."

After suffering from a series of injuries, poor results and personal problems, Weyermann only decided on Wednesday that she would definitely run in the Weltklasse.

Meanwhile, two other Swiss athletes are also heading to the Sydney Olympics after Friday's performances.

Marcel Schelbert ran the 400 metres hurdles in 49'49" - almost a second faster than his best performance so far this season. Like Weyermann, Schelbert has been plagued by injury but only had to meet the Olympic limit once because of his standing in the world rankings.

"I don't honestly believe I will reach this time again this year. Three months were missing in my training schedule," Schelbert told swissinfo.

In the 110 metre hurdles, their compatriot, Raphael Monachon, ran 13'65", his second time under the Olympic limit.

World record holder Maurice Greene won the men's 100 metres in 9'94". And fellow American, Marion Jones, narrowly took the women's sprint in 10'95" just one hundredth of a second ahead of her compatriot, Inger Miller.

Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj and Romania's Gabriela Szabo also declared their Olympic intentions, posting the fastest times of the season in the 1,500 metres and 3,000 metres respectively.

Wilson Kipketer of Kenya won the 3,000 metres steeplechase.

swissinfo with agencies

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