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Simpson, Burns to compete at Monaco Grand Prix

14 August 2006

By Gary Smith

In-form Jamaican sprinter Sherone Simpson and Trinidadian Marc Burns, the Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, have been confirmed for the 2006 Meeting Herculis - IAAF Super Grand Prix, which is scheduled for Monte Carlo on Sunday 20 August.

Simpson, who leads the world at both the 100m and 200m will line up in the former against a relatively strong field, which will also includes recently crowned European champion Kim Gevaert from Belgium.

Simpson has turned in three of the seven sub-11 seconds timings this season, including a sizzling lifetime best of 10.82 to cement the national title in Kingston, Jamaica, on June 24, and another victory on French soil looks a clear certainty for the Jamaican sprint star.

However, the reigning Commonwealth Games half-lap champion, whose scorching 22.00 leads the world over that distance, will have to bring her best once again to make victory certain, especially with Gevaert having her best ever outdoor season this year.

Also included in the race are Americans Me'Lisa Barber, the World Indoor short sprint champion and LaTasha Jenkins, who is also having a great run in the latter part of the season. Both Barber and Jenkins have posted 11.03 performances, slightly faster than Geveart, but the Belgian looked in tremendous form in Gutenberg last week and will certainly be Simpson's biggest challenge.

Burns will be up against it

Burns, Trinidad and Tobago's most fruitful sprinter this year, lines up in the men's race against Olympic 200m champion Shawn Crawford of USA, African record holder Olusoji Fasuba of Nigeria, Jamaica's World silver medallist Michael Frater and Portugal's Francis Obikwelu, who recently sprinted to a clinical European Championships sprint double in Gutenberg.

Burns has been quoted as saying he wants to step up in the IAAF World Event Ranking and another good performance in Monaco will certainly give him more confidence to compete and beat his more superior rivals on the circuit for the remainder of this season.

Martinique-born French sprinter Ronald Pognon and Jamaican Dwight Thomas are also down to face the starter's gun in the event.

Another Caribbean athlete, Osleidys Men?ndez, the Cuban World and Olympic Javelin champion will try to improve on the 64.13m best she's produced this season after opening up her season with 62.64m.

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