Athletics: Radcliffe hopes to run in Paris

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The Independent Online

Paula Radcliffe, whose participation at next month's World Championships has been put in doubt following a bout of bronchitis, indicated yesterday that she might yet compete in Paris at 5,000 metres.

Radcliffe, who pulled out of next month's London Super League in Crystal Palace because of a leg injury, subsequently missed nine days' training in the French Pyrenees after becoming ill, and earlier reports quoted her husband and manager, Gary Lough, as saying that she would wait until the last possible minute before committing herself to the competition in Paris.

The 29-year-old Bedford runner would be a strong favourite for the world 10,000 metres title, having won last summer's European title in the second fastest time ever. But her chances in the 5,000m after her Commonwealth win in Manchester - where she became the fifth fastest woman ever - are hardly slim, and the shorter event would put less of a strain upon her.

"Everyone seems to forget she has more than one string to her bow," Lough said. Radcliffe herself is determined not to make a hasty decision. She said: "I have to be very realistic and not rush into any decisions. I actually have until 11 August before the final team nominations must be made. Hopefully by then I will be fit enough for Paris."

Katharine Merry, recently back in action after two years out with injury, has withdrawn from this weekend's Norwich Union AAA World Championships Trials in Birmingham because of tonsillitis. But the 28-year-old Olympic 400 metres bronze medallist will still have six international meetings in which to achieve the qualifying mark of 51.34sec for the Championships.

Another athlete recently recovered from serious injury, the 19-year-old Jonathan Moore, will seek to mark his return today as the European Junior Championships get underway.

Moore, who shattered his knee while competing at Bedford in June last year, returns to Championship action in Tampere, Finland after a promising performance at Gateshead earlier this month, when he recorded a wind-assisted 7.92 metres. But Britain's women have suffered the loss of the defending and world junior 200 metres champion Vernicha James because of a hamstring injury.

* Heike Drechsler, the double Olympic long jump champion, needs an operation on a torn Achilles tendon and will miss the World Championships.