Injured Kenteris is out of the running

Costas Kenteris, the reigning European, World and Olympic champion at 200 meters will not appear at the World Athletics Championships later this week. A nagging Achilles tendon injury has proved too much for the Greek champion, who tried to test his fitness yesterday, but not with encouraging results. «It is all my fault… I should have taken (the injury) more seriously,» Kenteris’s coach, Christos Tzekos, said in a television interview yesterday. He did not specify how long it will take the athlete to recover from the injury. Kenteris, 30, will now concentrate on winning gold at the Athens Olympics a year from now. Kenteris’s injury dealt a blow to the Greek team’s chances of winning any further medals at the World Championships. Greece’s best hope is now javelin thrower Mirela Manjani. Niki Xanthou, in the long jump, has an outside chance of a medal, provided she jumps close to her best and avoids invalid jumps, which have plagued her career. Another athlete with an outside chance at a medal is hurdler Pericles Iakovakis. Yesterday, he easily won his heat in the 400-meter hurdles in a time of 48.76 seconds, beating, among others, France’s Stephane Diagana, the 1997 World Champion and the overwhelming crowd favorite. Iakovakis has run 48.25 this year, the fourth-best time in the world. Olga Vasdeki had raised Greeks’ hopes by qualifying third in the triple jump with 14.50 meters, but yesterday she could only manage 14.08 meters, good enough for 12th place. In the same event, Piyi Devetzi came eighth, with a personal best of 14.34 meters. «I felt very good, but this did not show in my jumps… It was a failure,» Vasdeki said afterward. A bronze medalist at the 1999 World Championships, Vasdeki has been hit by injuries in recent years.

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