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Perec will compete in Seville

Pérec to compete in Seville

Three-time Olympic champion Marie-Jose Pérec, out for just over a year, will be one of the medal challengers at this year’s World Championships, her coach said in an interview published Sunday.

"She's on the right track and in good form,'' John Smith was quoted as saying in an interview with the French sports daily L'Equipe. "A few days ago she ran the 300m and gave it everything. It was spectacular,'' he added. "I liked very much what I saw.''

Pérec made her last appearance on the track on 6 August 1997 when she won her 200m quarter final in the 6th IAAF World Championships in Athens before having to withdraw due to injury. She then had to pull out of the European Championships in Budapest last year after being diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus.

Smith said he didn't want to rush her comeback but that she would probably compete soon in France prior to the World Championships in Seville, 20-29 August. The French athlete, who won her first World title back in 1991 will be concentrating on her favourite event this year.

"I want her to dedicate herself to the 400m. I want her to win in Seville," he added. "She will definitely be there. The only thing that could prevent her from participating is if the competition is cancelled.''