Merlene Ottey at the 2000 Olympic Games (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Tampere, Finland

Merlene Ottey to star in Tampere

The annual Tampere Indoor Games which take place on Monday 12th February will feature a double performance by Jamaica’s sprint Queen Merlene Ottey, who will run in both the women’s 60 and 100 metres sprints.

Also contesting both the 60 & 100 metres in Tampere’s giant Pirkkahall that houses a flat 300 metres track, will be Nigeria’s Mary Onyali-Omagbemi and Finland’s 1997 European junior 100m champion Johanna Manninen.

Britain’s Olympic 400 metres 4th placer Donna Fraser will also double up running the 100 metres and then 35 minutes later will take on Russia’s Svetlana Gontsharenko over 300 metres.

In the infield, Estonia’s Olympic Decathlon champion Erki Nool will have an outing in the men’s long jump in a line up which includes three men who jumped over 8.20 last season.

However, the highlight of the evening off the track should be a sparkling men’s high jump.

Charles Austin the 1996 Olympic champion, faces Russia’s Jaroslav Rybakov - 231m indoors this year - and three men who jumped 2.30m last year, South Africa’s Jacques Freitag and Finnish record holders Oskari Frosen (2.30m indoors) and Mika Polku (2.31m outdoors).

The men’s shot was due to have welcomed Finland’s Olympic shot champion Arsi Harju but given the recent death of his fiancée he is now missing the entire indoor season and so Finland’s honour will be carried by European indoor champion Timo Aaltonen. Strong opposition will be provided by fellow Olympic finallists, Germany’s Oliver-Sven Buder, Czech Miroslav Menc and Spain’s Manuel Martinez who has already thrown 20.77m this indoor season.

The meeting will conclude with the rarely run men’s indoor 110m hurdles. The world best for this indoor distance is 13.34 seconds which has stood to 1996 Olympic champion Allen Johnson since 1995.

However, last year in Tampere, Holland’s Robin Korving came very close to the record with a 13.36 sec clocking and Latvia’s European indoor 60m hurdles champion Stanislavs Olijars (13.25sec 110m hurdles outdoors 2000) will be hoping at least to match the quality of that performance.

Chris Turner for IAAF