Athletics: Chinese puzzle for Ondieki

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The Independent Online
LISA ONDIEKI helped turn last year's NutraSweet London Marathon into a cat-fight. So, when she returns on 17 April, the omens will not be in her favour: this is the Chinese Year of the Dog, writes Duncan Mackay.

The Australian, second in 1993, is sure to talk a good race - her lively pre-race sparring with Liz McColgan last year made for good tabloid news paper headlines. However, she faces the prospect of running a personal best and still finishing a mile behind the Chinese team.

Ondieki's Commonwealth mark of 2hr 23min 51sec puts her fifth on the world all-time list, ahead of even the extraordinary Wang Junxia, whose best is only 2:24:07.

But David Martin, statistician for the Association of International Marathons, believes Wang will run much quicker in London. 'If you take her world 10,000 metres record of 29min 31sec and compare it to the men's, it's 8.6 per cent slower,' he said. 'Take that same percentage to the marathon, and you've got 2:18:45.' Ingrid Kristiansen's world best, set at London in 1985, is 2:21:06.

Linford Christie's third meeting of the winter with Colin Jackson over 60 metres is the highlight of the AAA Indoor Championships, which begin at the Birmingham Arena tonight.