Simpson Is Favourite ....
to open World Combined Events Challenge 2005 with a win Salò, Italy - Margaret Simpson from Ghana starts as the big favourite in the women's Heptathon at the 18th edition of the Multistars this weekend (7 & 8 May) which opens the IAAF Combined Events Challenge 2005. Margaret Simpson, who won the Multistars in 2003, has competed many times in the Multistars and won the Italian meeting two years ago with 5952. In the process she threw an impressive 52.79 in the Javelin, her strongest event. Simpson was a Commonwealth bronze medallist in Manchester 2002 and finished ninth at the Olympic Games in Athens with 6253. Simpson scored a PB of 6306 when she finished fifth in Götzis last year.
The Briton Julie Hollman (fifth at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester 2002 and a 6135 performer) returns to the Multistars meeting where she won in 2002 with 6093 points.
Russia's Tatyana Gordeyeva (PB 6336 in 2000 and 6235 in 2004 and a 1.91 PB in the High Jump), Kazakistan's Irina Naumenko (PB 6140), Belarus' Vera Yepimashko, seventh at last March European Indoor Championships in the Penthatlon in Madrid and a Shot Put specialist (17.25 indoors this winter) Finland's Tiia Hautala, fifth at the IAAF World Championships with her lifetime best of 6369 points and second at the Multistars in 2003, Michaela Hejnova from Czech Republic (PB 6065), seventh at the European Championships in Munich 2002, are the other main challengers.
Not to be written off are the 2004 African Championships runner-up Janice Josephs from South Africa (PB 6127 in Durban 2004), who ran the 100 metres in 11.36, the 200 metres in 23.15 and the 100 metres Hurdles in 13.30, and Virginia Miller from the USA (PB 6063). Silvia Dalla Piana, italian champion last year with her PB of 5920, is the best italian hope for this weekend meeting where she will try to approach the 6000 points barrier.
The line-up also features two names to watch in the years to come: the young Briton Jessica Ennis (fifth at the 2003 World Youth Championships in Sherbrooke 2003 and eighth at the 2004 World Junior Championships in Grosseto with her best score of 5542 points) and the Italian Cecilia Ricali, who set her PB of 5459 when she finished ninth at the World Junior Championships in Grosseto last summer.