Second place does not help Holmes solve Olympic case

Kelly Holmes, a perennial mistress of indecision, still does not have the clear answer she requires about how to proceed at her final Olympic Games after finishing second in the 1500 metres here at the Weltklasse meeting with a performance that was good, but not great.

There are no such doubts for Jamaica's 21-year-old relative newcomer Asafa Powell, however, after he underlined his status as favourite for the Olympic 100m title with a second successive victory over the defending champion, Maurice Greene.

Holmes has been agonising all year, as only she can, about whether to run the 800m or the 1500m, or both, in Athens. The 34-year-old Briton's original intention was to run the metric mile, but thus far her performances over the shorter distance - where she has won Olympic bronze and world silver in the last four years - have been more promising, particularly her emphatic win over Slovenia's European champion, Jolanda Ceplak, in Birmingham last month.

But after being overhauled by Poland's Wioletta Janowska in the final straight after making a long run for home - her second 1500m defeat this year to Janowska, who beat her in Madrid - she will travel to the British holding camp in Cyprus today for a week's intensive training and discussion with her coach, Margo Jennings.

"It's a big choice, a big decision for me," she said as she unlaced her shoes after finishing in the respectable but hardly startling time of 4min 03.48sec, 0.39sec behind the fast-finishing Pole. "I've got to weigh up whether to run in the 800 metres, which might ruin my chances in the 1500m afterwards, or run in just the 1500 and end up regretting not doing the 800."

Holmes's calculations were complicated by events elsewhere, as Turkey's European 1500m champion and world's fastest of last year, Sureyya Ayhan, announced that she would miss the Olympics because of a torn leg muscle. Less than an hour after Holmes's race, Maria Mutola, her friend and training partner, the defending Olympic 800m champion, indicated her mid-season slump in form is over by winning in 1min 57.48sec.

Ayhan was not the only big name to fall out of the Olympic running yesterday. According to sources at the International Association of Athletics Federations, Torri Edwards, the American who inherited the world 100m title after her fellow countrywoman, Kelli White, received a two-year ban for doping offences, is to be be given a two-year ban herself by the US Anti-Doping Agency following her positive test for the banned stimulant, nikethamide. That could open the way for Marion Jones, who finished only fifth in the US trials, to defend her 100m title if the woman who finished ahead of her in Sacramento, the high hurdles specialist Gail Devers, chooses not to contest the sprint.

Jones, who is still being scrutinised by authorities investigating the doping scandal at the Balco laboratory in California, was prevented from competing here by the organisers until the question of her involvement is finally settled one way or the other.

Her predicament drew sympathetic comments from her fellow American Greene on the eve of last night's competition, but after losing out narrowly to Powell, by 9.94sec to 9.93, the self-proclaimed "Greatest Of All Time" sprinter was more concerned with maintaining his own morale.

"I've got a few more things to work on before Athens, but this was better than my last race," Greene said. "Powell is a tough competitor, but tonight doesn't mean anything. Athens is going to be a completely different race, and I have got a great feeling about it."

The 6ft 3in Powell, who only took up sprinting in 2001 after spending his teenage years playing football, had his own take on the proceedings. "I'm feeling great now because I've beaten Maurice Greene again," he said. "I guess I'm the big favourite for the Olympics now. I'm very confident because I've been improving my start a lot and the season is going right."

Earlier in the evening, the meeting witnessed a startling performance in the 800m B race, where Youssef Saad Kamel - the son of Kenya's double world champion, Billy Konchellah - won in 1min 43.11sec, the fastest time in the world this year and a personal best by more than a second.

"I think it is possible for me to do the same as the winner of the B race in Zurich last year," said Kamel, who raced as Gregory Konchellah before changing his name and nationality to compete for Bahrain in 2003. He was referring to Said Guerni Djabir, of Algeria, who went on to win the world title in Paris last summer. Kamel's position as world leader lasted just over an hour until Kenya's Wilfred Bungei won the A race in 1:43.06.

Chris Rawlinson's Olympic aspirations in the 400m hurdles were put in perspective by another dominant performance from the world champion, Felix Sanchez. The man from the Dominican Republic re-emphasised his No 1 standing with a victory in 47.92sec over a field which contained all his main rivals save the Briton, who has chosen to begin his preparations in Cyprus.

Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
Sport
footballLive! Chelsea vs West Ham kicked off 10 Boxing Day matches, with Arsenal vs QPR closing the action
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all