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Bucher's last golden chance

Bucher (far right) will be looking to bounce back from his defeat in Brussels

(Keystone)

Swiss 800 metres world champion André Bucher will have one last chance to win a share of the Golden League jackpot on Friday, when the prestigious athletics series makes its final stopover in Berlin.

The jackpot comprises 50 kilograms of gold, or in reality a cheque made out to the equivalent value, and is divided among any athletes who manage to win in a particular discipline at five of the league's seven meetings.

Bucher has already won four of his previous five Golden League meetings (having skipped the Oslo event to concentrate on his world championship preparations) and the only man to beat him this season, Russia's Yuriy Borzakowski, is currently taking a break from competition.

Borzakowski blitzed his way past Bucher in an amazing sprint finish at last week's Golden League meeting in Brussels, setting a new season's best time in the process. But even without the threat of his young Russian rival, Bucher is not expected to find things easy in Berlin.

Challenge

Olympic gold medallist Nils Schumann of Germany will be keen to improve on his recent performances, while Kenya's Wilfred Bungei and Poland's Pawel Cziapewski should also provide a challenge having taken silver and bronze behind Bucher in Edmonton.

Romania's Violeta Szekely and American superstar Marion Jones have already made sure of their share of the jackpot, having won six and five of their events respectively.

Apart from Bucher, four other athletes are in search of one more win. America's Allen Johnson (110m hurdles), Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj (1,500m), Austria's Stephanie Graf (800m) and Russia's Olga Yegorova all have four victories to date.

In Berlin, El Guerrouj will actually be making a world record attempt over 2,000 metres, but a win would count towards his 1,500 metre jackpot attempt.

swissinfo with agencies


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