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Bucher wins first ever Swiss track gold in Edmonton

Switzerland's golden boy celebrates along with Bungei (left) and Czapiewski (right) Keystone

André Bucher secured Switzerland's first ever world championships track gold medal late on Tuesday, with a convincing victory in the men's 800 metres final in Edmonton.

This content was published on August 8, 2001 - 10:42

Bucher, holder of the world's best time over 800 metres this year, went in to the race as favourite, seeking to make up for his disappointing performance at the Sydney Olympics last year when he placed fifth.

"The final was run in exactly the way I'd dreamed of," Bucher said afterwards."I gave it everything I could and now I'm the world champion."

The 24-year-old Swiss athlete attacked on the back straight, overtaking the young Kenyan runner, Wilfred Bungei, whose fast pace from the start offered an ideal tempo for Bucher.

"Bungei ran the perfect race for me," said Bucher. "We both wanted a fast race. He probably went out for his chances to get a medal."

The Kenyan was forced to settle for the silver, though, with Bucher opening up an impressive lead in the closing 250 metres. His fast time of 1'43"70 was less than a second slower than his personal best and saw him over the line almost a second ahead of Bungei and third-placed Pavel Czapiewski of Poland.

Despite coming into the tournament as the hot favourite after dominating his specialist event this season, Bucher has suffered plenty of upsets in the past and will only have begun his celebrations after crossing the Edmonton finish line.

Five times a silver medallist at major championships, Bucher was widely tipped for gold at last year's Olympics, but was elbowed off the track during the final only to finish in fifth place.

But 11 months after the nightmare, Bucher has now realised a dream, becoming only the second Swiss athlete, after triple gold medal shot-putter Werner Günthör, to be crowned world champion.

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