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Netherlands Antilles' Martina to run 200m in Hengelo Grand Prix

23 May 2008

By Gary Smith

Netherlands Antilles' Churandy Martina is one of the Caribbean athletes that will again step up their preparation for this summer Olympic Games when they join the host of champions invited by the organisers to take part in the 26th edition of the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games in Hengelo, on Saturday.

Sprinters have been the main focus on the circuit for the Caribbean this season and in Hengelo their presence will again take centre stage in the most important track meet in The Netherlands, which is also another meeting for athletes to collect points to qualify for the IAAF / VTB Bank World Athletics Final, in September.

Martina, who ran an impressive personal best of 10.00-seconds for the 100m this season and Bahamian veteran sprinter Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie lead the small contingent from the region.

Martina, an easy winner of the 100m last year, will start strongest for the men’s 200m crown this term against the likes of Marlon Devonish of Great Britain, Rodney Martin of USA and Sweden’s improving sprinter Johan Wiseman.

Martina will start as the fastest man in field with his personal best mark of 20.17, which is the fifth best for 2008, behind American Tyson Gay’s 20.00, which was achieved at the Jamaica Invitational in Kingston, on May 3.

On the women’s side, Ferguson-McKenzie will clash with favourites Kim Gevaert from Belgium and American World Indoor 60m champion Angela Williams in the 100m.

This season the Bahamian has gone 11.15 and should consider a serious challenger for first place. Another athlete from the Bahamas in the race is Chandra Sturrup, who joins her countrywoman as the only female in the field with career bests faster than 11-seconds.

British duo Jeanette Kwakye and Laura Turner will be looking to get their outdoor season on the way and American Stephanie Durst will go out to improve her 11.19 this season when they race in the dash as well.

Clora Williams (51.65) will feature in the women’s 400m. The Jamaican will race with Great Britain’s Olympic semi-finallists Donna Fraser and Lee McConnell.

Jamaicans Vonette Dixon and Lacena Golding-Clarke will line up in the women’s 100m Hurdles. They will have to fend off Sweden’s Susanna Kallur and Lolo Jones of USA.

The other Caribbean athlete competing at the meet is Guyana’s middle distant runner Marian Burnett, who races in the women’s 800m. Her fastest time of 2:00.41 is the fifth quickest in the world for 2008 and she ran well to pick up second place at the Ponce Grand Prix, at the weekend.

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