• November 12 down the years

Radcliffe rules the world

Paula Radcliffe's half-marathon triumph was her first major title © Getty Images

Paula Radcliffe won her first global title. After silver medals at two World Cross-Country Championships and the 10,000 metres at the previous year's World Championships on the track, she won the World Half-Marathon on the roads of Veracruz in Mexico. Front-running as always, she upped the pace in the last three miles to burn off Susan Chepkemei, who finished 33 seconds behind. Another Kenyan, Paul Tergat, became the first runner to retain the men's title.

At Valderrama in Spain, Lee Westwood ended Colin Montgomerie's seven-year reign at the top of the European Order of Merit. Mike Weir of Canada won the grandiosely named American Express World Golf Championship, with Westwood finishing second to add to his seven tournament wins in Europe and South Africa. Montgomerie won the Order of Merit for a record 8th time in 2005.

Over in Wakefield, New Zealand beat France 54-6 in the rugby league World Cup. The Paul brothers scored 26 points, Robbie with three tries, Henry seven goals. France's only try was converted by Freddy Banquet, which was something for sportswriters to feast on.

Fred Couples and Davis Love became the only pair of golfers to win the World Cup four years in a row. In Shenzhen, which was staging the first golf tournament of this magnitude in China, they finished 14 shots clear of the field, equalling the record they set the previous year. Scotland would have come second if a spectator hadn't nicked Sam Torrance's ball at the last hole!

In Cancún in Mexico, another British competitor did become world champion. Triathlete Simon Lessing finished well clear of Brad Beven of Australia and Germany's Ralf Eggert, who'd won the same medals the year before behind another Brit, Spencer Smith. Lessing had finished second to Smith in 1993 after winning the title the year before. He won it again in 1996 and 1998.

For the first time in his professional career, 22-year-old Björn Borg lost to someone younger. In the semi-final of the Stockholm Grand Prix, he was beaten in straight sets by a 19-year-old called John McEnroe, who dropped only seven points on his serve. McEnroe went on to win the tournament and met Borg again in a famous Wimbledon Final two years later ( July 5).

Tom Shanklin scored four tries against Romania © Getty Images

No-one has scored five tries in a match for Wales at rugby union. In Cardiff today, centre Tom Shanklin equalled the record by scoring four in a facile 66-7 win over Romania. Wales's other six tries were shared by six different players, including Stephen Jones, who also kicked seven of the eight successful conversions.

A year later, Germany scored 18 tries against Serbia & Montenegro. In a World Cup qualifier in Heidelberg, they led 60-0 at half-time but won only 108-0.

Nadia Comăneci was born in Romania. She made her name when she was only 13, winning the European all-round title in 1975. In Montreal a year later, she became the first gymnast to score a maximum 10 at any Olympic Games ( July 19). She won the all-round title there too, as well as gold on the uneven bars and balance beam, then the beam again and the floor at the 1980 Olympics, when she finished second in the all-round event. She had a relatively thin time at World Championships, winning only the beam in 1978 and the team event the year after. She defected to the United States in 1989.

The first woman to run 800 metres in under two minutes. The GANEFO Games in Jakarta (for 'new emerging forces') weren't recognised by the IAAF, so the time of 1 minute 59.1 seconds set by Dan Shin-Geum (known in the West as Sin Kim Dan) was never ratified. She finished 19 seconds ahead of the next runner! The following year, Dan ran a reported 1:58.0 a month before the Olympic Games, where Britain's Ann Packer set an official (i.e. much slower) world record ( October 20).

Nicaragua's Alexis Argüello was one of the very best lightweights, the one who took a world title from Scotland's Jim Watt ( June 20, 1981). So the next boxer to beat Argüello had to be something special. Aaron Pryor had the advantage of being half a weight heavier. He was unbeaten as a professional and held the WBA light-welterweight title. Known as The Hawk for his style of fighting, he kept it against Argüello twice: in the 14th round tonight and the 10th the following year. Pryor also won the IBF title and lost only once in 40 pro fights.