Jones, Greene still up in air on events

Track's World Championships start today

Posted: Friday, August 03, 2001

EDMONTON, Alberta -- The World Outdoor Track and Field Championships begin Friday and two of the sport's biggest stars, Marion Jones and Maurice Greene, still are uncertain about all the events in which they will compete.

Jones is sure she'll seek her third straight title in the women's 100 meters and chase her first gold medal in the 200, but her participation in the 400 relay still was cloudy Thursday.

''I would like to run the 400-meter relay,'' she said. ''We'll know in 24 hours. Whether or not I get to run, I will support them.''

The decision on whether to use Jones, the Olympic gold medalist in the 100 and 200, along with the 1,600 relay, is up to the U.S. coaches. They were miffed that Jones didn't attend the team's relay camp in Monte Carlo, and said the world's fastest women's sprinter needed to show her fitness level.

''It's quite possible I could be left off the relay team,'' said Jones, who anchored a depleted U.S. team to the bronze medal at the Sydney Games. ''The U.S. coaches will have the final decision. Regardless of how well I'm running, I will have to live with that decision.

''It's out of my hands. I told them I'll run. I'd like to run.''

Jones' business adviser, Charlie Wells, also would like to see her run in the relay.

''Our position is if they want her, she's available,'' Wells, a former sprinter, said. ''Everyone wants to see her run. I don't know what they're thinking. But we're not sweating it. We try to stay out of the politics.''

Jones ruled out running on the 1,600 relay, an event in which she had expressed a sincere affection for this year.

The status of Greene, the two-time defending champion in the men's 100 and winner of the 200 at the last worlds, depends on the severity of the tendinitis in his left knee.

The 100 world record-holder plans on running that event and anchoring the 400 relay, but his participation in the 200 is questionable.

''I will decide on the 200 after the 100,'' said Greene, who said the injury bothers him when running the curve. ''My condition is well, but not 100 percent. The more I run, the less pain I feel.''

Greene has not run a 200 this year. Ato Boldon of Trinidad & Tobago, who trains with Greene and was runner-up to him in the 100 at the Olympics, doesn't think his friend will be in the 200.

''It is no secret that Maurice's knee is bothering him,'' Boldon said. ''I see it in practice every day when he pushes off and slows down when he is feeling it."

''You have to remember that Maurice is pressured to anchor the U.S. 4x100-meter relay team as well, which can become questionable if he runs four rounds of the 200.''

Greene begins his quest to match Carl Lewis' feat of three straight world 100 titles in the first-round heats Saturday. Jones starts her bid for a third consecutive title Sunday in the opening-round heats.

The eighth World Championships and the first in North America begins Friday night with the men's marathon.

The star-studded field includes world record-holder Khalid Khannouchi; 2000 Olympic champion Gezehegne Abera of Ethiopia; 1996 Olympic gold medalist Josiah Thugwane of South Africa; 2001 world leader Josephat Kiprono of Kenya; 1996 Olympic silver medalist and 2001 Boston Marathon winner Lee Bong-ju of Korea; and 2000 New York City Marathon champion and 2001 London Marathon winner Abdelkader El Mouaziz of Morocco.

The championships begin under the cloud of a doping case that might not be resolved until next week.

IAAF officials said they have to do a reanalysis of the second drug test on Russian 5,000-meter runner Olga Yegorova.

Yegorova has been suspended pending the results of the second test for the endurance-boosting hormone EPO. If the second test confirms the positive finding of the first test, Yegorova could be suspended for two years.

If the second test is inconclusive, she could be allowed to compete in the 5,000 next week.

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