The Organiser of the Nikaia Grand Prix Meeting (taking place on Saturday 17 July), Robert Bertojo announced that he would be leaving one lane of the 200m race open for French star Marie-José Perec.
"One lane will be kept open for Marie-Jo as we, like many, would like to host her comeback race, " announced Robert Bertojo. "What’s more we can afford to wait as we have an excellent line up."
The organiser made his declaration several hours after hearing Perec’s statement that she would definitely not be staging her comeback as expected in Salamanca, Spain tonight. However Perec did not mention where and when she would take part in her first race after a two-year absence from the track.
One thing is sure, Perec, who is currently training in the South of France, will definitely make her comeback race over 200m on the advice of her coach John Smith.
Bertojo mentioned Jamaican Merlene Ottey’s withdrawal from the 200m, but confirmed the participation of six very fast young women in Nice: From the Bahamas Pauline Davis and Sevatheda Fynes, the Jamaicans Beverly McDonald, Merlene Frazer et Juliet Campbell, as well as rising French star Muriel Hurtis.
This leaves two lanes that need to be filled with a waiting list that includes France’s Sylviane Félix and Fabe Dia, Nigerian Falilat Ogunkoya, Oksana Dyachenko-Ekk of Russia and Zundra Feagin from the United States.
Allen Johnson (110m hurdles) and sprinter Obadele Thompson (BAR) have withdrawn from the meeting due to injury and illness, but the overall field remains of a high standard and the spectators will be treated to a superb pole vault competition.
The athletes holding the five best performances of the year have confirmed their participation, namely Russia’s Maxim Tarasov (6.05m), Jeff Hartwig (6.02m) of the USA, Germany’s Tim Lobinger (6m) and Michael Stolle (5.91m) and Australian Dmitry Markov (5.95m).
In addition, Igor Potapovich of Kazakhstan and Olympic Champion Jean Galfione (FRA) will add an extra ‘je ne sais quoi’ to this exciting meeting.
AFP for the IAAF