Portland (Oregon): Olympic and world 100 metres champion Maurice Greene opens his outdoor season at the Oregon Track Classic on Saturday with one goal in mind — to prove to the world that he is still the best.
“It really doesn’t matter what the weather is like,” the former world record holder said, alluding to the forecast of cool, damp conditions for the Grand Prix meeting. I’m going to give something for everybody to talk about.”
A lack of fitness cost Greene dearly last season as seven major race defeats dumped him from the number one ranking he had held for four consecutive years.
Then, with Greene looking on, American rival Tim Montgomery grabbed his 100 metres world record with a 9.78-second clocking at the Paris grand prix final. “Of course it hurt,” Greene said of the sub-par year. “My fire was lit about the middle of the season,” he said.
“I was just waiting for the season to get over with so I could get back to training and doing what I know how to do. Now I have a goal this year that I want to run 9.8 every time I step on the track.”
Weather conditions may hamper Greene’s chance of running that quick on Saturday as he faces Commonwealth Games champion Kim Collins of St Kitts.
However, he indicated he would not be satisfied unless he at least exceeded the absent Montgomery’s season’s best time of 10.04 seconds. The meeting will include a 1,500 metres showdown between two Kenyan stars, Olympic champion Noah Ngeny and bronze medallist Bernard Lagat.
The shot put competition boasts a strong field, featuring the top three ranked throwers in the world — Americans Adam Nelson, Kevin Toth and John Godina. US 800 metres world indoor champion David Krummenacker and 400-metre world champion Avard Moncur of the Bahamas are also competing.
Britain’s Dwain Chambers, ranked second behind Montgomery in the 100m last year, will test his speed in the 200m against Darvis Patton, John Capel and Coby Miller. (Reuters)