The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fredericks to hog limelight

Hyderabad: Veteran Namibian sprinter Frankie Fredericks and 5,000m world champion Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia would be the star attractions along with Indian long jump heroine Anju Bobby George in the Afro-Asian Games athletics competition beginning here Tuesday.

But the catch is that no one here (including the organisers) seems to know which foreigners will compete at the GMC Balayogi stadium over the next three days.

Lack of information on the starting list and competing athletes have left the athletics officials a confused lot. The only certainty is the 73-member Indian contingent, including Neelam J. Singh, Saraswati Saha and Shakti Singh.

However, if every thing goes well, national record-holder Anil Kumar will get to compete with Fredericks, winner of three Olympic silver medals. The 36-year-old Namibian, who this week denied reports that he is quitting after the All-Africa Games in Abuja, Nigeria, finished second in 100m and 200m in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and also won the 200m silver four years later in Atlanta.

He also reigned supreme in Abuja, winning the sprint titles.

Similar would be Dibabaís entry in the womenís 5,000m. The Ethiopian became the youngest ever winner in a world championship when she won in Paris, recording a time of 14:51.72. The Indian national record is in the name of Sunita Rani who timed 15:41.40 in 1998 in Bangalore.

Another star attraction would be Ethiopian Sileshi Sihine who picked up the menís 10,000m bronze in Paris behind superstar compatriots Kenenisa Bekele and Haile Gebrselassie.

Competing in her first event after her historic win in Paris, Anju George should be a cinch for the gold in long jump and also in triple jump, if she competes.

The Customís superintendent has not competed in triple jump after the national circuit meet in New Delhi in 2002 in her effort to concentrate on the long jump. Neelam also stands a good chance to win the gold.

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