Jones sees field opening up for sprint option

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The Independent Online

Victory in the long jump at the Olympic trials earned Marion Jones a place in the US team yesterday. And the triple Olympic champion, who is due to contest the 200 metres in Sacramento this weekend, may yet find herself defending her 100m title in Athens despite failing to claim an automatic qualifying place last Sunday.

Victory in the long jump at the Olympic trials earned Marion Jones a place in the US team yesterday. And the triple Olympic champion, who is due to contest the 200 metres in Sacramento this weekend, may yet find herself defending her 100m title in Athens despite failing to claim an automatic qualifying place last Sunday.

Jones, who won the long jump with 7.11m - her best distance for six years and the second furthest in the world this year - may profit from Thursday's announcement that Torri Edwards, who was second in the 100m trial, is facing a two-year doping ban after testing positive for a banned stimulant.

Should Edwards be suspended before the Games, the fourth-place trials finisher, the high hurdles specialist Gail Devers, is unlikely to take up the spare place, which could then go to Jones, who placed fifth.

After months in the spotlight following the investigation into the Balco lab which has left her partner, Tim Montgomery, facing a life ban for doping, Jones had something to celebrate when the trials resumed after their two-day break. She told the crowd: "I think I had a little bit of motivation. It feels really good; I had fun out there." She added, her voice cracking with emotion: "So many people told me, 'Marion, just have fun', and I'm very happy to get it together today."

Regina Jacobs, the former world indoor 1500m champion, has retired. The 40-year-old tested positive for the designer steroid THG in June 2003 and was due for a hearing tomorrow, the day of the trials 1500m final.

Another US athlete is also reported to have tested positive for drugs, the high hurdler Larry Wade, a leading contender for the Olympics. He faces a two-year ban for taking a banned steroid, although his management deny receiving official notification.

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