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Triangular rivalry in women’s 200m at Jamaica Invitational

5 May 2006

By Gary Smith

When the starter's gun goes off to send the women's 200 metres runners on their way at the third edition of the Jamaica International Invitational at National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday, a triangular rivalry between three of the world's rising sprinters will be the main highlight.

Simpson vs. Campbell vs. Williams

American 100m World Champion Lauryn Williams and Jamaican sprint duo Veronica Campbell, the Olympic 200m champion, and Sherone Simpson, the reigning Commonwealth Games champion, will battle it out to the finish line to see who will be crowned champion.

Despite surprisingly losing to Simpson at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, in March, defending champion Campbell will likely start as favourite to win the half-lap event, but Williams who defeated the Olympic champion in the 100m at the world championships in Helsinki, last summer, said she's up for the challenge.

Of the three sprinters, Simpson is the fastest this season with time of 22.59seconds. However, Campbell sits closely, at 22.72 and, on the fast track in Kingston, she's expected to lower that time.

Williams' currently has a season's best time of 23.15, but the American said she's ready to run faster and upstage the Jamaicans on their home turf.

"Veronica and Sherone always bring it whenever they step on the track, and I'm going to have to do the same," says Williams. "It's going to take nothing less than the best performance to win in this field."

Richards back to defend her crown

Meanwhile, Jamaican-born Sanya Richards of USA will defend her 400m title against a strong line up. Richards has already produced 50.44, the second fastest time this season behind Britain's Christine Ohuruogu (50.28), and she said her aim now is to run consistent fast times from here on in the campaign.

"It's time to get serious," Richards, the world no.1 400m female runner said. "I want to run more consistently, 49 seconds or under. This is the beginning of the path toward the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and I have something to prove to myself."

Her main challenges should come from World Indoor medallist Novlene Willaims of Jamaica, American Monique Henderson, Christine Amertil from the Bahamas as well as Jamaicans Lorraine Fenton, the 2000 Olympic and 2001 World silver medallist and Stephen Francis pupil, Sherika Williams.

At the meeting last year Richards clocked 49.96sec to beat Monique Hennagan and Fenton.

Other top athletes on show will be world record holder Asafa Powell (100m); Usain Bolt (200), world junior 200m record holder; Brigitte Foster-Hilton (100mh); Trecia Smith; and Sudan's Yamile Aldama in the women's Triple Jump, as well as Kenia Sinclair (800m), Felix Sanchez (400mh), LaShawn Merritt (USA) and Sheri Ann Brooks.

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