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Australian Mottram stands tall in men's 5,000

Australian Mottram stands tall in men's 5,000

Australian runner Craig Mottram doesn't mind standing out in a crowd.
Mottram will have his sights set on the gold medal in the men's 5,000 meters but he'll be going up against a strong field of Ethiopians and Kenyans.
Mottram won the bronze medal at the world championships in Helsinki two years ago and the silver medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
When he won the bronze in Helsinki, Mottram became the first non-African to medal in the event in 18 years, but he doesn't look at Sunday's race as himself against a continent.
"It's just a running race," Mottram said. "Sure, I'm going up against the best in the world but I think I'm just as good as they are. If they want to pace the race around me that's their choice."
Qualifying for Sunday's final race will be held Thursday.
One thing Mottram will be looking to avoid in the race is a spill similar to that suffered by compatriot Benita Johnson, who got tangled up with Ethiopian runners and fell in the women's 10,000 meters.
"You've got to keep your wits about you," said Mottram. "If you run in a pack in a slow pace you can fall."
Mottram has had his own spills. He fell in the men's 1,500 at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne last year after a collision with England's Andrew Baddeley, disappointment for his home crowd.
Mottram has been strong this year, easily posting victories over African runners in the 2 mile in the London Grand Prix earlier this month and a 5,000-meter race in June.
Africans will be the favorites in Sunday's race with the Kenyan team of Eliud Kipchoge, 2003 champion Isaac Songok and Joseph Ebuya aiming for the country's eighth gold medal.
American Bernard Legat, who is Kenyan-born, will also be among the gold medal favorites.
"Anyone can beat the Africans," said Mottram. "A lot of running is mental, a lot of the damage is done before the gun sounds. If they start running at my race it's fine with me. It's 12-1/2 laps and I plan to run my race."
Mottram said he is looking forward to the Beijing Olympics but at the moment has no plans to increase his work load for the Games.
"I'll be in the 5,000 in Beijing," said Mottram. "I'm not getting any younger. I've run a few 10ks but at the moment there is no point to go up."