Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Van Commenee's Problems Mount

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Van Commenee's Problems Mount

Article excerpt

UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee faces an anxious wait to see whether any more of his star competitors will pull out of next month's World Championships following Kelly Sotherton's withdrawal.

The heptathlete has shown no real form since suffering a heel injury in February and aggravated it when training last Friday. She will now not compete at the event which takes place in Berlin from August 13 to 25.

Her injury came on the same day that Olympic 400 metres champion Chrissy Ohuruogu pulled out of the London Grand Prix next weekend, prompting speculation she may also be missing in Berlin.

Ohuruogu has a hamstring injury and has never looked comfortable over her speciality distance this summer, suffering a heavy defeat at the hands of American rival Sanya Richards in Oslo at the beginning of the month.

The pair should have had a rematch in Paris last Friday night, but the hamstring was already troubling Ohuruogu and obviously deteriorated when she withdrew from London on the afternoon of that IAAF Golden League meeting.

Ohuruogu has the happy knack of peaking for the big occasion, as she showed two years ago when she won the world title less than three weeks after returning from a 12-month ban for missing three out-of-competition drug tests.

She did it again in Beijing last year, finding the finishing pace to power past Richards in the home straight to claim 400 metres gold.

The 25-year-old Londoner was at least in the best of health on both those occasions and that could be a vital factor in her choice whether to make the trip to Berlin.

Coach Lloyd Cowan has a massive influence over her and he may feel there is no sense and no point to prove in risking further injury by defending her title where she would have to undertake two tough heats before the final. …

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