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New Delhi Games: Okagbare, turner tip for women gold

As in men’s athletics the Commonwealth contains some of the finest female athletes in the world, but once again many of the biggest stars will be missing.

World champions Shelly_Ann Fraser and Linet Masai fail to make the trip to India, while British stars Christine Ohuruogu and Lisa Dobriskey both miss out.

And although the Commonwealth boasts four of the top six 100m sprinters in the world in the Jamaican trio of Veronica Campbell_Brown, Shelly_Ann Fraser and Kerron Stewart, and Trinidad’s Kelly_Ann Baptiste, none of them will be present in Delhi.

However, over the years more than 60 Commonwealth champions have also won Olympic gold, while 10 of the individual gold medallists at 2009 World Championships _ of both genders _ are due to compete, so there will still be plenty of talent on show.

The absence of Campbell_Brown, Fraser, Stewart and Baptiste in the 100m means 2008 Olympic long jump bronze medallist Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria and England’s Laura Turner are the main challengers for gold.

Okagbare is also expected to challenge in the 200m but Cydonie Mothersill of the Cayman Islands, the 2001 world championship bronze medallist, will start as favourite while little_known Audrey ‘Audra’ Segree will carry Jamaica’s hopes. Adrienne Power, the 2010 Canadian champion, could also figure.

The relatively late withdrawal of England’s defending champion Christine Ohuruogu and the absence of Jamaica’s world_class athletes Shericka Simpson, Novlene Williams_Mills and Kaliese Spencer means the 400m is an open_looking race.

Scotland’s Lee McConnell is in with a real chance of a medal along with Christine Amertil of the Bahamas.
World 800m champion Caster Semenya of South Africa will compete at her first major meeting since enduring an 11_month enforced lay_off while gender tests were carried out.

Both Kenya’s Janeth Jepkosgei and Jamaica’s Kenia Sinclair have run faster than Semenya this year and the race is shaping up to be one of the most competitive on the track in Delhi.


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