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Thu Apr 24 10:35:44 SAST 2014

Ottey, 52, heads to European champs

Sapa-AFP | 19 June, 2012 17:410 Comments
Merlene Ottey of Slovenia competes in the Womens 4 x 100m Relay during the Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace on August 5, 2011 in London, England
Image by: Stu Forster / Getty Images

Former Jamaican sprinter Merlene Ottey, 52, will race next week for her adopted country Slovenia at the European Athletics Championship in Helsinki, Slovenia’s athletics federation said Tuesday.

Ottey, who claimed her first Olympic medal at the Moscow Games in 1980 in a distinguished career at 100m and 200m, will be one of six athletes going to Finland for possible inclusion in the 4x100m women’s relay team.

It is however seen as unlikely that the former Yugoslav Republic’s team will be fast enough to be able to compete in London this summer for what would be Ottey’s eighth Olympic Games.

Her many achievements include having attended seven Olympics and winning nine medals although she never managed the dream of gold.

Her closest was in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics when she was just beaten by Gail Devers.

Controversy at the 2000 Sydney Olympics over claims she was only included in the Jamaican team because of her name led her to quit and she began competing for Slovenia.

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