Jones downfall adds glory to Ottey

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Ljubljana, Oct 10: Jamaican-born sprinter Merlene Ottey could add to her record tally of eight Olympic medals thanks to the fall from grace of US rival Marion Jones.

Jones, who won the 100 metres gold at the 2000 Sydney Games ahead of fourth-placed Ottey, last week admitted to taking steroids and has returned her medals to the US Olympic Committee.

Ottey, 40 at the time of the race, is now in line to receive the bronze.

''I'm sure she will get that medal. That's automatic now,'' said Ottey's Slovenian coach Srdjan Djordjevic.

''Of course I would have been happier if she'd got the medal back then,'' added Djordjevic, who has coached Ottey since she moved to the Alpine republic in 1998.

The silver went to Katerina Thanou of Greece, who has since served a two-year ban for doping violations, while Jamaican Tanya Lawrence won the bronze.

Jones, who faces a six-month jail sentence for lying to federal investigators, won five medals in total at the Sydney Games.

TESTED POSITIVE

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will now award them to the appropriate winners.

Ottey, who became a Slovenian citizen in 2002, has won 35 medals in major championships. She tested positive for the steroid nandrolone in July 1999 but was cleared by an IAAF panel which criticised the laboratory involved.

Her haul of eight Olympic medals began with a 100 metres relay bronze at her first Games in Moscow 27 years ago.

At the Sydney Olympics, Ottey, still competing for Jamaica, became the oldest women's Games track and field medallist with a silver in the relay.

Djordjevic told Reuters in a telephone interview on Tuesday that Ottey hoped to participate at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, two years short of her 50th birthday.

''But she has some problems with an allergy,'' he said, conceding that ''she no longer has a realistic chance of a medal''.

Ottey is currently on holiday in California.

Reuters
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