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Bolt, Campbell-Brown lead Caribbean contingent for Athens Grand Prix

12 July 2008

By Gary Smith

World 100m record holder Usain Bolt and Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown will lead a strong Caribbean group for Sunday's Tsiklitiria 2008 Grand Prix meeting in Athens.

Bolt, a strong favourite to win the men's sprint double at the Beijing Olympic Games next month, will race in the men's 200m against a strong field which also includes fellow countryman Marvin Anderson and Antigua’s national record holder Brendan Christian, who were the top two finishers at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Dominica's Chris Lloyd and the in-from Zimbabwean, Brian Dzingai, are the other main challengers for the title.

Meanwhile, Campbell-Brown, the Olympic 200m gold medallist and 2007 world 100m champion, starts favourite in the women's 100m, an event she will be missing from at the Olympics.

Lining up alongside the Jamaican will be compatriot Simone Facey, who has run 10.95 already and Bahamians veteran Chandra Sturrup and Debbie Ferguson. The race will also see a host of Americans and stars from Europe testing the Caribbean sprinters.

Two other Caribbean standouts set to shine in the Athens Olympic Stadium are Cubans Dayron Robles and Yeimer Lopez.

Robles, the world record holder in the men's 110m hurdles with a sizzling 12.87-seconds and Jamaican Olympic fourth place finisher Maurice Wignall, will contest their specialty and will be up against some of the men they will battle with for the crown in Beijing.

Lopez, one of the notable findings of the season, takes on a strong field in the men's 800m. The Cuban ran a life-time best of 1:43.07 earlier this year and he faces Bahrain’s Youssef Saad Kamel and Kenya's Boaz Lalang.

Jamaica's Kenia Sinclair, who on Friday ran 1:59.77 in Rome, her third sub-two minutes performances this season, joins Cuba's 2005 world champion Zulia Calatayud -- slowly coming back into her own after injury set-backs -- in the women's race.

In the meantime, World silver medallist Derrick Atkins will seek to avenge his defeat to Portugal's Olympic silver medallist Francis Obikwelu at the Gala Friday evening, when they clash in the men's 100m dash.

Daniel Bailey, a silver medal winner at the just concluded Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC), world 60m champion Olusoj Fasuba and the American Darvis Patton, are some other notable entries.

Other Caribbean applicants for the meeting are Jamaican quarter-milers Novlene Williams and compatriot Shereefa Lloyd, who race against American Olympic favoruite Sanya Richards in the women's 400m dash and Olympic 400m hurdles gold and silver medallists Felix Sanchez of the Dominica Republic and Jamaica's Danny MacFarlane, two of the strongest entries in the men's 400m hurdles.

They will be joining Grenadian exciting jumper Randy Lewis, Cuba's David Giralt and Bahamian Leevan Sands, who compete in the triple. Cuba's world record holder Osleidys Menendez goes in the women's Javelin Throw, while Jamaicans Korine Hinds and Madrea Hyman run in the women's 3000m.

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