INTRODUCTION: Athletics -- and Leon Schots of Belgium won this year's World Cross-Country Championship after an exciting duel with Portugal's Carlos Lopes, the defending title-holder.
INTRODUCTION: Athletics -- and Leon Schots of Belgium won this year's World Cross-Country Championship after an exciting duel with Portugal's Carlos Lopes, the defending title-holder. But it was only at the end of the final lap in Dusseldorf, West Germany, that the Belgian went into the lead, after the two had run side by side for the last two and a half kilometres (1 1/2 miles).
SYNOPSIS: The 22-nation race began without Uganda, Kenya or Senegal.
New Zealand sent a contingent -- and relations between them and much of the third world, especially Africa, have been strained because New Zealand refuses to abolish its sporting links with South Africa. The climax of the bitterness came in the Montreal Olympics last year when several nations withdrew in protest against New Zealand's participation.
Omar Khalifa of the Sunder, number 171, went into an early lead, but lost it permanently during an obstacle jump.
More than 200 runners took part in the 12.3 kilometre (7.5 miles) race, run over five laps of a specially-adapted horse-racing track.
The Belgians later had cause for a double celebration -- steady work by the bulk of their contingent gave them the team prize.
Schots and Lopes, wearing numbers 26 and 120, led a small pack who broke away from the rest of the field in the fourth lap. Detlef Uhlemann of West Germany, at number 37, occasionally swopped places for the lead with the other two.
After a quick break from Lopes in the last few hundred metres, Schots took the finishing post first. His time -- 37 minutes, 43 seconds.
The final line-up -- Schots, Lopes and Uhlemann.