Veronica Campbell-Brown back with fresh title in sights
Cleared to race after struggling through doping drama, Jamaican speedster is raring to go
Jamaican sprinting legend Veronica Campbell-Brown will make her first track appearance in 10 months at the World Indoor Championships starting on Friday, just weeks after being cleared of doping.
The two-time Olympic 200 metres champion has not competed since testing positive for a banned diuretic last May, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled last month that it had upheld the Jamaican's appeal.
"I lost out on the opportunity to compete for most of 2013 and the chance to defend my world [outdoor] 200m title. However, I press on," said the 31-year-old, who has won seven Olympic medals and is aiming for a third consecutive world indoor sprint title after victories in both 2010 and 2012.
In the Polish Baltic seaside town of Sopot, Campbell-Brown is partnered with teammate and indoor rookie Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the women's 60m.
Fraser-Pryce enjoyed a stellar 2013 season in winning the 100 and 200m at the Moscow worlds and collecting a third gold as part of the Jamaican 4x100m quartet.
"I sometimes go 'How do I top this off?' But it's the same thing, the same amount of focus and determination, and being committed to what it is that I want to do this year," said Fraser-Pryce, who was named as the IAAF's World Athlete of the Year for 2013, along with compatriot and fellow sprinter Usain Bolt.
"I've never been to a World Indoor Championships before, I've never been to a Commonwealth Games before, so I want to go to both of those and I want to do exceptionally well."
Campbell-Brown and Fraser-Pryce head up a powerful Jamaican team that also includes the fifth fastest man of all time in Nesta Carter, reigning 60m silver medallist and an integral part of the Jamaican men's all-conquering 4x100m relay team.
Despite the likes of Bolt, American Justin Gatlin, current middle-distance king Mo Farah of Britain and the injured French pole vault world record holder Renaud Lavillenie missing the championships, there will be some fine athletes on show.
And none less so than Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba, who has been on fire this indoor season, setting two new world records.
She scorched to a new best of three minutes, 55.7 seconds in the 1,500m in Karlsruhe, Germany, on February 1 and then ran 8:16.60 over 3,000m in Stockholm five days later.
Little more than a week after that, she set a world indoor best for two miles with a storming 9:00.48 run in Birmingham.
Dibaba hails from good stock, sister of three-time Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba and Olympic silver medallist Ejegayehu Dibaba, and the cousin of former Olympic champion Derartu Tulu.
Genzebe Dibaba has form at world indoors, having claimed 1,500m gold in Istanbul two years ago, but this time around will concentrate on the 3,000m.
Ethiopia's other reigning world indoor champion, Mohammed Aman, is also on the team, the world 800m champion indoors and outdoors coming in undefeated this year and leading the 2014 world indoor list of best times with his African record of 1:44.52.
One Kenyan-born athlete due to make another world indoor appearance in his long career is 39-year-old Bernard Lagat of the United States.