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  • LEADING CONTENDERS: WOMEN



    100 meters
    Marion Jones, United States: undefeated in 100 and 200 since 1997 and defending world 100 champion; season best of 10.80, run twice.
    Glory Alozie, Nigeria: has second-best mark in world with 10.90.
    Christine Arron, France; fourth at '97 worlds and European champion; season best of 10.97.
    Ekaterini Thanou, Greece: has run 10.91 and 10.92 this season; European bronze medalist.
    200 meters
    Jones: has season's top six times, including best of 21.81.
    Inger Miller, United States: fourth at the '96 Olympics; her 22.10 ties Jones for the sixth-best time in the world this season.
    Debbie Ferguson, Bahamas: her 22.19 is third-best in the world.
    400 meters
    Falilat Ogunkoya, Nigeria: former world junior champion; best time in world this season of 49.62.
    Cathy Freeman, Australia: defending world champion and '96 Olympic silver medalist; world No. 2 time with 49.76.
    Ionela Tirlea, Romania: world's third-fastest time of 49.88.
    Jearl Miles-Clark, United States: '93 world champion; season best of 49.98.
    800 meters
    Svetlana Masterkova, Russia: 1996 Olympic champion; best time in the world this season of 1:55.87.
    Maria Mutola, Mozambique: '96 Olympic bronze medalist and former world champion; has run 1:56.99 and 1:57.12 this season.
    1,500 meters
    Violeta Beclea-Szekely, Romania: ran quickest time in the world this season Wednesday at Zurich (3:59.31), was first sub-4 minute clocking this season.
    Anita Weyermann, Switzerland: bronze medalist at the '97 championships; No. 2 time this season with 3:59.82.
    Carla Sacramento, Portugal: defending world champion; season best of 4:01.93.

    5,000 meters
    Zahra Quaziz, Morocco: '95 world bronze medalist; No. 1 time in the world this season of 14:42.03.
    Gabriela Szabo, Romania: won 1,500 and 3,000 at '99 world indoor championships; top time in the world this season at 3,000 meters (8:25.59).
    10,000 meters
    Paula Radcliffe, Britain: fourth at '97 worlds; best time in world this season of 30:40.70.
    Fernanda Ribeiro, Portugal: defending Olympic and former world champion; has run few races this season at 10,000; 14:52.59 best at 5,000 meters.
    100-meter hurdles
    Olga Shishigina, Kazakhstan: silver medalist at '95 worlds; has top two times of season -- 12.47 and 12.50.
    Glory Alozie, Nigeria: has next best two times in world -- 12.52 and 12.53.
    Gail Devers, United States: two-time Olympic 100-meter champion and '95 world champion at 100 hurdles; has 12.58 best this season.
    Ludmila Engquist: Olympic champion and defending world champion; Russian-born Swede was diagnosed with breast cancer in March, had her right breast removed April 21 and began chemotherapy in May; season best of 12.66.
    400-meter hurdles
    Nezha Bidouane, Morocco: defending world champion; has top two times in world this season -- 53.05 and 53.08.
    Ioneal Tirlea, Romania: second-fastest this season at 53.25.
    Deon Hemmings, Jamaica: 1996 Olympic champion and '97 world silver medalist; best time of 53.30 this season.
    High jump
    Hestrie Cloete: South Africa: 10th at the worlds in 1997; best jump this season in the world of 6-8 1/4.
    Monica Iagar-Dinescu, Romania: reigning European champion; her best jump of season is 6-7.
    Yelena Yelesina, Russia: former world silver medalist: season's best of 6-7.

    Tisha Walker, United States: bronze medalist at '99 world indoors; season best of 6-6 3/4.
    Long jump
    Fiona May, Italy: '95 world champion and '96 Olympic silver medalist; English-born Italian has best legal jump this season of 23-01/2.
    Marion Jones, United States: best legal jump is 23-0.
    Eunice Barber, France: from Sierra Leone; became French citizen this year; season best of 23-0.
    Triple jump
    Tatyana Lebedeva, Russia: fifth at the '98 European championships; tied for best jump in the world this season with 49-0 1/4.
    Paraskevi Tsiamita, Greece: tied for the world's top jump at 49-0 1/4.
    Pole vault
    Emma George, Australia: competing in one of the two new events at the championships; holds world record of 15-1, set this year.
    Anzhela Balakhonova, Ukraine: has vaults of 14-111/2 and 14-10 3/4 this season.

    Stacy Dragila, United States: season best of 14-10 3/4.
    Shot put
    Svetlana Krivelyova, Russia: '92 Olympic champion; world best throw this season of 66-5 3/4.
    Astrid Kumbernuss, Germany: Defending Olympic and world champion; has throws this season of 64-10 and 64-81/2.
    Discus throw
    Natalya Sadova, Russia: '96 Olympic silver medalist and '97 world bronze medalist; leading throw in the world this year of 229-9.
    Franka Dietzsch, Germany: fourth at '96 Olympics; season best of 228-0, second-best in the world.
    Hammer throw
    Mihaela Melinte, Romania: competing in other new event this year; world record-holder at 249-2; has eight of nine best marks in world this year.
    Olga Kuzenkova, Russia: has the only mark in the top nine that doesn't belong to Melinte -- 243-9.
    Javelin throw
    Trine Hattestad, Norway: has world best this season of 223-8; defending world champion and '96 Olympic bronze medalist.
    Tanja Damaske, Germany: No. 2 throw this season of 219-6.
    Heptathlon
    DeDee Nathan, United States: seventh at '97 worlds; season-best total of 6,577 points. Eunice Barber, France: season best of 6,505 points.



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