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Xing wins gold as Radcliffe quits
Xing returned a personal best time of 30:24.36 as she took the gold
• Olympics 2004: Special report 
Paula Radcliffe
Olympics 2004
Xing Huina

ATHENS, Greece -- Xing Huina of China was the surprise winner of the Olympic women's 10,000 meters gold medal in Athens as Britain's Paula Radcliffe quit with nine of the 25 laps remaining.

Radcliffe, who never looked comfortable, drifted backwards through the field after leading briefly.

She had only decided to take part on Friday morning, after failing to finish last Sunday's marathon, when she started favorite.

The 20-year-old Xing returned a personal best of 30 minutes 24.36 seconds to become only the fourth Chinese female athlete to take gold.

"I realized my dream ahead of time," Xing said.

Ejegayehu Dibaba of Ethiopia won silver in 30:24.98 while compatriot and two-time Olympic champion Derartu Tulu took bronze in a time of 30:26.42.

Another Ethiopian Werknesh Kidane took the bell in the lead but Dibaba passed her down the back stretch and led into the final straight with Xing on her shoulder with Tulu toiling in third.

Down the straight Xing eased past Dibaba and crossed the line four meters ahead of the Ethiopian, who like her younger sister Tirunesh in the 5,000m, had to settle for a minor medal.

In a bizarre finish, Dibaba celebrated as she crossed the line, believing she had led home an Ethiopian sweep of the medals.

"I didn't see where the Chinese girl came from," she explained. "Had I known, I would have put in more effort and passed her."

Tulu, seeking an unprecedented third gold in the event, added: "The gold should have been ours. We just didn't pay attention to the Chinese."

Radcliffe, hoping to redeem herself after the disappointment of the marathon, said: "My legs hadn't recovered from Sunday. My mind was ready but I'd taken too much out of my body on Sunday."

Radcliffe said she had promised the British team medical staff that she would pull out if she felt threatened with serious tissue damage.

"That's why I stopped," she said. "I had wanted to run and do the best I could."

Radcliffe, 30, has not won a medal in three Olympics.

She said of her Athens experience: "It has been the lowest of the lows and it has crushed me emotionally. I had to get back out there and try. I'm gutted."

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