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Caribbean Olympic heroes target more success in Gateshead

30 August 2008

By Gary Smith

Several of the Caribbean Olympic heroes, including individual champions Shelly Ann Fraser and Melaine Walker, in addition to relay gold medallists Asafa Powell and Nesta Carter, are set to resume their seasons at the Gateshead Grand Prix on Sunday.

All eyes on Powell

All eyes will definitely be on Powell, the former world record holder who finished a surprise fifth in the men's 100m in Beijing, two weeks ago. Two years ago Powell ran 9.77 seconds to equal what then was his own world record. He since has lost his world mark, which was 9.74, to fellow countryman Usain Bolt.

Powell is known for fast one-off races and a quick time is expected from the Jamaican ace sprinter on Sunday.

Lining up against the Commonwealth Games champion in Gateshead will be his training partner Carter, the lead off man on the Jamaican world record braking 4x100m relay Olympic team.

Another Beijing finallist Marc Burns of Trinidad & Tobago and St Kitts and Nevis' Kim Collins are also entered.

Tyrone Edger and Craig Pickering will carry the British hopes against the regional speedsters.

On the women's side, Olympic champion Fraser, Jamaica's first ever Olympic female 100m champion will start slight favourite for the title. She will face Beijing silver medallist Sherone Simpson, also of Jamaica, American former world champion Lauryn Williams and compatriot Marshevet Hooker.

Another strong runner in the event will be Belgium's European champion Kim Gevaert.

Olympic 400m hurdles gold medal winner Walker starts most wanted in that event against home favourite Tasha Danvers, American Christine Spence and Poland's world bronze medallist Anna Jesien.

Strong half-lap fields

Two strong fields have been assembled for the men's and women's 200m races.

Americans Tyson Gay, looking to rebound from a disappointing Olympics and Allyson Felix, the silver medallist at the Games, head their respective categories.

Gay will match strides with three of the finallists from Beijing, Wallace Spearmon (USA), Brian Dzingai (ZIM) and Christian Malcolm (GBR), as well Antigua's Pan American champion Brendan Christian, who just missed the finals.

Meanwhile, Felix will tackle Bahamian Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie and Cayman Islands' Cydonie Mothersill, two of the finallists in Beijing, American Bianca Knight and 400m Olympic silver medal winner Shericka Williams of Jamaica will also face the starter.

In other events, Jamaica's Brigitte Foster-Hylton runs in the women's 100m hurdles, Markino Buckley starts in the men's 400m hurdles, while Jamaica's Kaliese Spencer and Bahamas' Christine Amertil take on world and Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu in the women's 400m.

In field event action, Bahamas' former world champion Donald Thomas, still struggling to find his best form, challenges a sturdy High Jump field and Grenada's Randy Lewis tackles an equally strong field in the men's Triple Jump.

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