Rodriguez 'made tactical mistake'

MADRID - Spain's Natalia Rodriguez yesterday blamed a "tactical mistake" for her disqualification as the winner of the women's 1500m at the athletics championships in Berlin on Sunday.

MADRID - Spain's Natalia Rodriguez yesterday blamed a "tactical mistake" for her disqualification as the winner of the women's 1500m at the athletics championships in Berlin on Sunday.

"I am disappointed in myself because deep down I believe I made a tactical mistake," the teary-eyed 30-year-old told reporters as she arrived at Madrid's Barajas airport.

Rodriguez was judged by the race referee to have pushed over Ethiopian Gelete Burka down the back straight as runners jockeyed for position going into the final curve, leaving reigning world champion Maryam Yusuf Jamal of Bahrain to retain her crown. Rodriguez said the hardest part of the incident was being jeered by the audience after Burka fell to the ground.

"It was very hard, I wanted to hide. I have no more tears to shed. Now I feel a bit better but last night I could not sleep," she said.

Earlier on Monday she sounded a more defient note, insisting in an interview with Spain's Radio Marca that she did nothing wrong and was "robbed" of her gold medal.

"It was clear that I was going to win, they robbed me (of my victory). It was the Ethiopian who closed in on me. There was a shock and she fell," she said. She recognised that trying to pass from the inside was "very risky". - Sapa-AFP

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