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Athletics - 13. May 2008.

Early mother's day present for Donna in Doha

The win, her second consecutive World Athletics Tour victory, comes following the sudden passing of her long-time coach and mentor Max Cherry two weeks ago.


MacFarlane, 30, won in Doha last year, and she defended the title in style, running away from Kenyan duo Ruth Nyangau and Eunice Jepkorir. Jepkorir won the bronze medal and Nyangau, the world junior record holder, finished fourth at last year’s world championships in Osaka.

MacFarlane’s time of 9:31.47 is the second fastest in the world in 2008 – behind her own 9:29.93 set in winning the event at the World Athletics Tour in Melbourne in February. Nyangau recorded 9:32.15 and Jepkorir 9:36.23 to fill the placings.

"This was not an easy win - with two laps remaining there was a group of seven athletes still in contention. I kept my focus and was able to increase my speed over the last lap,” MacFarlane said after the race.

For MacFarlane, a mother of two, the win is more important as she is recovering from the sudden passing of her long-time coach Max Cherry two weeks ago.

Cherry, 81, died of a heart attack on 28 April and his passing was felt heavily by MacFarlane, who has enlisted the support of Tasmanian Institute of Sport coach Peter Fortune to oversee her Olympic preparations. MacFarlane was automatically nominated following her victory at the Australian titles in February.

In victory, MacFarlane remembered one of the most important pieces of advice her late coach told her about running right through the line.

“I approached the final water jump at the same time as Nyangau and used everything I had left to sprint to the line.”

The ever improving MacFarlane was also pleased with her technical side of her race.

"I am pleased with my technique and in particular, the way I pushed out of the water jump.”

It sets her up for what will be a grueling and potential rewarding six week racing campaign in Europe, beginning later this month. MacFarlane returns to Australia later today, arriving in Hobart tomorrow morning to celebrate Mother’s Day.

Her next race will be the prestigious Bislett Games Golden League event in Oslo on Friday 6 June.

In other Australian results in Doha, Vicki Mitchell finished 11th in the steeplechase in 10:14.50, and Melissa Rollison did not finish.

Sarah Jamieson returned to the track for her first race since September last year, finishing 9th in the 1500m in 4:10.82 behind Romania’s Liliana Popescu who won in 4:05.52.

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