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News 05 Sep 2002

Jackpot Contenders have their say in Berlin

Marion Jones in action (© Getty Images)

At this afternoon’s press conference in the Hotel Berlin, the HQ for the 61st ISTAF meet, the four remaining contenders for the 2002 IAAF Golden League Jackpot had their say before they embarked on the seventh and final leg of their gold quest, for at least a share of 50 kilos of gold, in the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark tomorrow evening.

Marion Jones (USA) – Women’s 100m.

“Without doubt this has been the most difficult of the Golden Leagues. Seven wins out of seven, is the most challenging requirement ever but hopefully I will successfully culminate a long season’s campaign here in Berlin.

All of us are looking forward to wrapping up the Golden League and then in the following two weekends, to end the season in Paris at the Grand Prix Final, and the World Cup in Madrid.

My aim this year was to stay healthy, stay undefeated and run fast, and I think I have nearly accomplished all of that. Yes, I’m still looking for my fastest times but I was especially pleased with the way I ran in Brussels and particularly the 200m, setting the fastest time in the world of 2002.

The loss (100m World title) in Edmonton made me extremely motivated to come back and prove I was the best in the world this year.”

Ana Guevara (MEX) – Women’s 400m.

“If I can get another race like Monaco, when I was pushed all the way to the line by Lorraine Fenton, then yes, sub 49 is still possible this season.

Did I believe I could be in contention for the Jackpot at the start of the season? After my first winning steps in this series in Oslo, only then did I became motivated for it but all along I have always taken it one race at a time.

Felix (Sanchez) and I are two new faces from Latin America, different from the regular Americans and Europeans on the circuit, and I think our development this year is of great importance for the popularity of the sport world-wide.”

Hicham El Guerrouj (MAR) – Men’s 1500m

“I will try and show my best performance in Berlin tomorrow. But running fast is not as important as winning the jackpot of course.

It’s been too long a season to answer now about what I will do with the Jackpot money if I win? For now, I will just think about going home and deciding later what to do with the prize.

I am happy to be a symbol for Morocco. I do this sport because I love it and here in Berlin I particularly want to become the first athlete to win the Golden League for the fourth time.

At the beginning of the season I counted on running between eight and ten races, and after Berlin the total will be ten. That’s a long season especially with no major championships on which to focus. I have lost concentration a little and psychologically I have found it hard to re-group this summer.

At the Olympics I want to double at 1500m and 5000m.”

Felix Sanchez (DOM) – Men’s 400m Hurdles.

“It’s been a long stressful season with a lot of talk of me winning the gold bars. Also in the last two races I have had problems with my step pattern.

Am I considering doubling at the Grand Prix Final? The London meet organizers gave me a chance to test running both the 400m and the 400m hurdles in one meet, and after that test run I knew that the task was possible.

The meeting schedule for the Final in Paris doesn’t at the moment allow for it, as the 400m is first and the 400m hurdles second on the programme but…I hope it can be changed, so I can perhaps do something special there.”

News 05 Sep 2002 Jackpot Contenders have their say in Berlin Marion Jones in action (© Getty Images) At this afternoon’s press conference in the Hotel Berlin, the HQ for the 61st ISTAF