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Ottey still has European Championships competition thoughts

10 June 2006

By Gary Smith

Jamaican-born Slovenian veteran sprinter Merlene Ottey aims to run at August's European Championships after making a successful comeback to the track at Spain's Rivas International.

Ottey, 46, who has not been active since the 200m semi-final at the Athens Olympics, battled a strong headwind to win the 100m in 11.94 seconds.

"It was slow so forget the time," Ottey was quoted as telling the European Athletics Association’s website.

"I wish the wind had been behind me rather than in front of me, it was hard, it was difficult but the legs feel fine.”

"If I'm running well in July then I'd like to go to Gothenburg."

Despite several world-class performances, Ottey picked up an incredible 34 medals in major championships, including 14 at the IAAF World Championships, but has never won an Olympic gold medal.

Going for that illustrious feat in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games in Greece, Ottey injured her hamstring which had her seriously thinking about retirement.

However, the veteran sprinter, who opened her fruitful career with a bronze medal over the 200-metre in the 1980 Moscow Olympic, said it just was time for her to leave the sport yet.

"I didn’t like sitting at home so I decided to get the required surgery and just started training again," she said. "They had to put three screws in it to reattach it but now it’s okay."

Ottey, a former Caribbean sprint queen, will now focus her attention on her next meet, which will be the European Cup in Malaga on 28 June and then see what comes next thereafter.

"I haven’t figured out the summer yet. I definitely don’t think the European Cup First League is possible as I’m not yet in shape but we’ll see how the rest of the training goes."

She, also in the meantime, has not totally possibilities of competing at the European Championships in August, despite not being part of the Slovenian current team for the European Cup First League competition in Prague on June 17-18.

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