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Campbell points to Ottey after Osaka success

30 August 2007

By Gary Smith

Following her late charge, which saw her winning her first world title at the 11th IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan, Jamaica’s new sprint queen Veronica Campbell dedicated her performance to former Jamaican and world renowned sprinter Merlene Ottey.

Campbell, who just pipped the defending champion Lauryn Williams at the line to win the 100-metre dash and reversed the placing from 2005 in Helsinki, said Ottey, who also featured in the event at the championships, has always been someone she looked up to, citing that although the great sprinter now sprints for Slovenia she still communicate with her on a regular basis.

“Merlene Ottey is a wonderful person, she has always been my hero,” Campbell was quoted as saying after winning the close race. “We communicate on a regular basis. She has always given me good encouragement.

“A couple of weeks ago she e-mailed me to tell me that I am doing good and that, by the end of the year, my cup will overflow. She is somebody I really admire, a very great athlete.”

Campbell, a former World junior sprint double champion and the reigning Olympic 200m gold medallist, got up late from the blocks, but managed to chase the field down to share the same time with silver medallist Williams. Both sprinters were rewarded with a time of 11.01 seconds, but the Jamaican got the nod after a ten-minute delay for the photo-finish.

“I was very confident - even when we did not know the result of the photo finish - because I know that I have got an excellent top speed and a strong finish,” the former Arkansas sprinter said. Besides, I have been working a lot on my start and improved it strongly.”

In the build up towards the championships, Campbell had hinted that a world title was the main thing missing from her collection of honours and after her brave run, she was delighted at winning the title that eluded her by .02 seconds two years ago.

“This medal means a lot to me and the title is important for my career,” the 25-year-old said. “The title of world champion was missing in my collection.

“I have done a lot for that and it was a very competitive race. Now, I just feel great.”

Campbell, a former Jamaican high school sprint star also remembered those back home who were affected by Hurricane Dean earlier this month.

“This one was for everybody at home,” she said. “I know the hurricane did some damage and I just want to tell everybody to keep their heads up as there is always hope.”

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