Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Merry Goes Round and Shatters Her Best Time

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Merry Goes Round and Shatters Her Best Time

Article excerpt

KATHARINE MERRY insisted today that she will stick to her programme of meetings in preparation for a world title tilt in August despite shattering her personal best - and a top-class 400 metres field - in Athens.

At the venue for the 2004 Olympic Games, Merry was amazed after winning only her second track race of the summer in a superb world-leading mark of 49.59 seconds.

It beat her previous fastest of 49.72sec which she achieved when winning the Olympic bronze medal in Sydney and, but for a poor start, there was every possibility Kathy Cook's longstanding British record would have fallen.

After her front-running victory - leaving Heide Seyerling of South Africa and Nadjina Kaltouma of Chad 10 metres in her wake, despite having their best races of the year - Merry is adopting a precautionary course in her buildup to the world championships in Edmonton.

The Linford Christie-coached star has been receiving lucrative offers from top meeting directors to compete at their events.

After last night's success where she obliterated the Athens record of 50.04sec, set by Olympic champion Cathy Freeman of Australia, Merry is expecting even more phone calls.

But the 26-year-old said: "I've already been offered pots of money to run in Helsinki on Thursday.

The organiser was begging me to compete and I have a mortgage to pay. But I don't think I'll be going.

Money doesn't rule my life." Aware that she is running much quicker than expected this early in the season, Merry plans to keep to her original schedule with a race in Nuremburg on Sunday followed by the European Cup final a week later in Bremen.

Her time in Athens will not place her under pressure to smash Cook's 1984 mark set when finishing third in the 1984 Olympic final.

Merry said: "I've always believed I could beat the record and after last night it should come some time during the season. …

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