Netherlands Antilles' Churandy Martina leads Caribbean athletes in Hengelo
Friday May 23, 2008
By Gary Smith
Churandy Martina is one of the Caribbean athletes that will
again step up their preparation for this summer Olympic
Games when they join the host of champions invited by the
organisers to take part in the 26th edition of the Fanny
Blankers-Koen Games in Hengelo, on Saturday.
Sprinters have been the main focus on the circuit for the
Caribbean this season and in Hengelo their presence will
again take centre stage in the most important track meet in
The Netherlands, which is also another meeting for athletes
to collect points to qualify for the IAAF / VTB Bank World
Athletics Final, in September.
Martina, who ran an impressive personal best of
10.00-seconds for the 100m this season and Bahamian veteran
sprinter Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie lead the small contingent
from the region.
Martina, an easy winner of the 100m last year, will start
strongest for the men’s 200m crown this term against the
likes of Marlon Devonish of Great Britain, Rodney Martin of
USA and Sweden’s improving sprinter Johan Wiseman.
Martina will start as the fastest man in field with his
personal best mark of 20.17, which is the fifth best for
2008, behind American Tyson Gay’s 20.00, which was achieved
at the Jamaica Invitational in Kingston, on May 3.
On the women’s side, Ferguson-McKenzie will clash with
favourites Kim Gevaert from Belgium and American World
Indoor 60m champion Angela Williams in the 100m.
This season the Bahamian has gone 11.15 and should consider
a serious challenger for first place. Another athlete from
the Bahamas in the race is Chandra Sturrup, who joins her
countrywoman as the only female in the field with career
bests faster than 11-seconds.
British duo Jeanette Kwakye and Laura Turner will be looking
to get their outdoor season on the way and American
Stephanie Durst will go out to improve her 11.19 this season
when they race in the dash as well.
Clora Williams (51.65) will feature in the women’s 400m. The
Jamaican will race with Great Britain’s Olympic semi-finallists
Donna Fraser and Lee McConnell.
Jamaicans Vonette Dixon and Lacena Golding-Clarke will line
up in the women’s 100m Hurdles. They will have to fend off
Sweden’s Susanna Kallur and Lolo Jones of USA.
The other Caribbean athlete competing at the meet is
Guyana’s middle distant runner Marian Burnett, who races in
the women’s 800m. Her fastest time of 2:00.41 is the fifth
quickest in the world for 2008 and she ran well to pick up
second place at the Ponce Grand Prix, at the weekend.