Rivals for the glittering prizes

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Hassiba Boulmerka (Algeria): Olympic champion who won world title last summer after showing little form earlier. Situation similar this time. Recent display at grand prix meeting in Nice was poor but she often runs misleadingly before a big event.

Maria Mutola (Mozambique): Former student of Eugene University and good soccer player. Achieved 45 successive wins over 800m between 1992 and 1995, not including her disqualification for stepping out of lane in last summer's world championships.


Wang Junxia (China): Thought to be running this and the 10,000m. "Leg injury'' reduced runs last year. Has won all her 12 10,000m races and three marathons. Took 41.96sec off world 10,000m record in 1993, then over 15sec off 3,000m record.

Fernanda Ribeiro (Portugal): Occasionally challenged O'Sullivan but has taken time to fulfil promise she showed as a 13-year-old when she made international debut. Took European titles indoors and out in 1994; won world 10,000m title in Gothenburg last year.