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Sabine Fischer returns without Olympic diploma

Sabine Fischer of Switzerland (centre) had to run the 1500 metre final without her trainer present Keystone

Just 54 hundreths of a second stood between the Swiss athlete, Sabine Fischer, and her hopes of winning a diploma at the Sydney Olympics. Fischer finished ninth behind Algeria's Nouria Merah-Benida.

However, the athlete from St Gallen did well to reach the final of the 1500 metres race. Merah-Benida won with a time of four minutes and five seconds.

“I wanted to finish in the top eight,” Fischer said. “Unfortunately, my legs could not carry me fast enough along the final straight.”

The race began slowly, with a first lap time of 70 seconds. “This false rythmn did not put me off. I was worried about giving anything away too soon if the pack had pulled away at the beginning,” Fischer said.

The Swiss athlete did not feel in top form. “It’s the first time I ran three races together at this level and this took its toll.”

Fischer was left alone to prepare for the final. Her coach, Cornelia Bürki, returned to Switzerland.

Fischer maintains that the Games will not change her life dramatically. The 27-year-old said that she did not want to sacrifice everything for athletics. “Normally I expect to work to 70 per cent of my capabilities during training. However, these games have encouraged me to work harder with my coach,” Fischer said.

The Swiss star athlete said that she would continue training eight times a week.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR