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KINGSTON—Jamaica’s sprint legend Merlene Ottey has announced plans to compete in this summer’s IAAF World Championships in Moscow, almost 30 years after her first appearance at the event in 1983. Ottey, Jamaica's most decorated female athlete and the first woman from the English-speaking Caribbean to win an Olympic medal, is nearing her 53rd birthday but says she has already begun preparations for the event.
"I am preparing for the World Championships. It's my goal and we will see what happens," said Ottey, who is visiting Jamaica this week to participate in a series of events. "One day, probably I will stop. I came in and surprised everybody and surprised the world but I don't want to go out like that.” Ottey, now a citizen of Slovenia, which she represented as recently at last year's European Athletics Championships in the 4x100m, has a record 14 World Championships medals between 1983 and 1997.
Ottey, who became the oldest woman to win an Olympic medal at the 2000 Sydney Games as part of Jamaica's silver-medal winning 4x100m team, clocked 11.96 last season, her worst ever return. However, she has laughed at questions about retirement and insisted that she has no plans of letting up. "Preparations have been good so far. I was in South Africa training for five weeks, so it's been good. I'm feeling very good," said Ottey, who boasts three Olympic silver and six bronze medals.
"I just love to run, and when you have a passion like this, you don't look at the little things. I have very strong belief. I always believed that I would make it and do certain things and it's a big fight, but I fight going down, that's how I am.” The nine-time Olympic medallist is to be awarded with an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Technology (UTech) this weekend. (CMC)