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Sprint star in race for fitness

10 April 2007

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By Gordon Williams

Olympic gold medalist Veronica Campbell is racing against the clock to become fully fit for the IAAF World Championships this summer.

However, there are still serious doubts that the quadriceps injury Campbell suffered last year, while competing at a meet in England, will even allow the sprinter to be in top shape for Jamaica's trials in June.

"We intend to go there and compete," Campbell's manager Claude Bryan said on Friday.

However, Bryan later admitted that "only time will tell" how ready Campbell will be for what is expected to be hot competition for places on Jamaica's women sprint team for the World Championships in Japan, late August. Among Campbell's main rivals are Sherone Simpson, the world's top-rated sprinter in 2006, and upcoming stars like Kerron Stewart.

According to Bryan, Campbell is about "90 to 95 per cent" recovered from the injury she suffered at Gateshead.

"I wouldn't say she has got totally over it," he explained. "She can't train at the optimum level."

Initially, the injury was expected to take two months to heal. But it soon became apparent that there were added complications.

"Clearly it was more serious than initially diagnosed," Bryan said.

"A quad is quite different from a hamstring," he added.

Campbell, who trains in Arkansas in the United States, is "somewhat inconvenienced" by the "slight discomfort" in her leg, Bryan added. The injury reportedly affects her most while running the turn of the 200 metres and during the "explosiveness" of the 100 metres race.

However, three weeks ago Campbell competed for the first time since Gateshead, running a leg on a 4x400 relay team at a meet in Arizona. The signs were positive.

"She came out of it feeling OK," Bryan said.

She is scheduled to run a similar race in the U.S. soon. However, there is still some uncertainty whether Campbell will attempt the double - 100 and 200 metres - at the trials as she tries to recover from an injury which sidelined several of Jamaica's biggest names in track and field, including Roxbert Martin, Juliet Campbell and Lorraine Fenton.

"Right now we just want to get her healthy and then see what's happening with the double," Bryan said. "Nothing has been ruled out."

If Campbell succeeds at the trials, her handlers are confident that the time leading up to the World Championships will be "more than enough" to bring her back to top form. They are also assured that the sprinter, who is expected to marry fellow Jamaican sprinter Omar Brown, is mentally upbeat and unwilling to give up without a fight.

"Veronica Campbell is a professional," Bryan said. "We are hoping that same spirit of professionalism will see her through ... She considers herself a contender."

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