Athletics: Hansen pulls out of indoor title defence

David Martin
Wednesday 25 February 2004 01:00

Ashia Hansen will not defend her triple jump title when the World Indoor Championships take place in Budapest from 5 to 7 March.

The two-times gold medallist will instead be concentrating on her preparations for this summer's Olympic Games in Athens, where she is seen as a gold medal contender. "I think Ashia's made the right decision," Max Jones, the UK Athletics performance director, said.

Jones was impressed by Hansen's winning return after an absence of almost a year in last Friday's Norwich Union Grand Prix but, in naming a 27-strong squad to take to Hungary, he acknowledged the need to manage her rehabilitation carefully.

"If she did compete in Budapest, Ashia would have had to extend her indoor preparations by a fortnight," Jones added. "Athens might seem a long way off, but given she is just back from injury, the additional training time in her case could be critical."

Jones is also without last year's 200 metres gold medallist, Marlon Devonish, and the 400m runner-up, Daniel Caines. "Although this is an Olympic year and the world indoors is not of paramount importance, we have been able to select a quality team with some definite medal opportunities."

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