23 Jul 2008

Ottey fails in final attempt to reach eighth Games

7:08 am on 23 July 2008

The 48-year-old Jamaican-born sprinter Merlene Ottey has failed in her final attempt to achieve the 100 metres qualifying time that would have enabled her to become the first athlete to compete in eight Olympic Games.

Ottey finished second at a meeting in Slovenia in bad conditions against wind, missing the qualifying time by 28 hundredths of a second.

Ottey has taken part in every Olympics since the 1980 Games in Moscow and her tally of nine medals is more than any other woman in track and field. She her first medal, one of a record six bronzes, in Moscow 28 years ago.

Ottey never won an Olympic gold, competing for Slovenia at the 2004 Athens Games after six Olympics with Jamaica.

Her Slovenian coach Srdjan Djordjevic says Ottey is determined to continue training, simply because she can still run very fast.

At the 2000 Olympics, she won a relay silver for Jamaica to become the oldest female track and field Olympic medallist.

She also has a 100 metres bronze from the same Games after her US rival Marion Jones last year admitted taking steroids and returned all her medals from the Sydney Games.