Athletics: Fraser refuses lucrative US offers as Athens becomes priority

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The Independent Online

Donna Fraser, whose comeback from long-term injury was maintained with an impressive 400 metres victory at Irvine, California, over the weekend, has turned down offers from top US promoters to compete in further high-profile meetings.

The 31-year-old Croydon Harrier, who missed an Olympic medal by 0.07sec four years ago and has been out since 2001 with an Achilles tendon injury, has turned down the lucrative prospect of grand prix appearances to return to Britain today. "She's run so well on her comeback, there have been invites for her to stay in the US and race in a couple of Grand Prix meetings," Fraser's coach, Ayo Falola, said. "We're shutting down on racing from now until June. It was always the plan to concentrate on training throughout May and we're happy with the way things have gone. Donna's fitter now than she was in the Olympic year four years ago."

Fraser won on Saturday in 51.49sec, which would have put her second in last year's UK rankings, after making her return the previous week with a 52.63 victory in San Diego. Four years ago in Sydney she recorded 49.79sec to finish just behind team-mate Katharine Merry in a race won by home runner Cathy Freeman. However, qualifying for selection at the Team GB trials in July remains Fraser's top priority, and she intends to proceed cautiously en route to Manchester. Meanwhile, the Olympic heptathlon champion Denise Lewis has announced that she will return to her home track when she competes in the Norwich Union international in Birmingham on 25 July. Lewis will take part in a specially-arranged multi-event challenge over three disciplines - the 100m hurdles, high jump and javelin.