Merlene Ottey's participation in the 2003 World Championships

Organising Committee Website

Merlene Ottey's accomplishments in Paris

29 August 2003: Slovenia disqualified in the 4 x 100 metre relay
The heats of the 4 x 100 metre relay marked the end of the 2003 World championships for Merlene Ottey. She ran her first international relay with her new team-mates of Slovenia (Alenka Bikar, Kristina Zumer and Maja Nose). "It didn’t work out today, we had problems with our exchanges", Ottey said after the race. "But I am still having fun. So let us just wait and see what our team can do next year". Even though Merlene ran home on the final leg in 5th place in 44.81 sec. the team was disqualified for not respecting the zone for the baton exchange. 

See also: 

4 x 100 metre final  4 x 100 metre heat 3 
1. France: 41.78 sec.
2. USA: 41.83 sec.
3. Russia: 42.66 sec.
8. Jamaica: DNF
1. France: 42.04 sec.
2. Jamaica: 43.05 sec.
3. Germany: 43.34 sec.
4. Japan: 44.57 sec.
5. Uzbekistan: 45.74 sec.
6. Slovenia: DQ (44.81 sec.)
7. Sweden: DNF

Photo finish from the 4 x 100 metre heat

27 August 2003: Merlene Ottey looking forward to the relay
After having been beaten in the 200 metres yesterday Merlene Ottey is now looking forward to the relay on Friday. She is eager to compete in the 4 x 100 metre relay for her new home country of Slovenia, which she anchored to a national record 43.91 sec. in late July. Ottey says "We have good chances. You know, in the relay, a lot really depends on the exchanges so we're not going to count ourselves out. Anything is possible. When you put the baton in my hand, then I'll run very fast. That is what I do best".

26 August 2003: Merlene Ottey 18th over 200 metres
Merlene Ottey was not able to live up to her season's best times over 200 metres in the heat and the quarterfinal today. In the heat she was beaten into fifth position on the line and only qualified for the qarterfinal on her time (23.24 sec.). Therefore she had to settle for the very difficult lane 1 in the next round. In that race she was not able to show her old finish and she was 1/4 second from reaching the semifinal. Merlene Ottey was the second fastest of the losers and therefore ends her individual participation in the World Championships as 18th over 200 metres.  
After the race Merlene Ottey was interviewed on Eurosport by Stephan Franke.
Stephan Franke: "What kind of goal did you set yourself for the 200?"
Merlene Ottey: "For me my goal for both events was to get to the finals. For these I came up short. But I know the 200 metres would be the toughest because I haven't really trained for it. One has to train properly for the 200".
Stephan Franke: "What are your plans for next years - Athens? Just the 100 or the 200 also?"
Merlene Ottey: "I've been planning to do both because I think in both events it's very difficult to get a medal. Now the goal is just to get to the finals"

200 metre - quarterfinal (wind: ) 200 metre - heat 6 (wind: )
1. Torri Edwards (USA): 22.66 sec.
2. Anzhela Kravchenko (UKR): 22.81 sec.
3. Vida Anim (GHA): 22.95 sec.
4. Beverly McDonald (JAM): 22.96 sec.
5. Merlene Ottey (SLO): 23.22 sec. 
6. Johanna Manninen (FIN): 23.42 sec. 
7. Anna Pachalak (POL): 23.43 sec.
8. Luz Digna Murillo (COL): DNS  
1. Mary Onyali-Omagbemi (NGR): 22.80 sec.
2. Cydonie Mothersill (CAY): 22.84 sec 
3. Lauren Hewitt (AUS): 23.01 sec. 
4. Jacqueline Poelmann (HOL): 23.22 sec.
5. Merlene Ottey (SLO): 23.24 sec.
6. Lucia Ivanova (SVK): 24.12 sec.
7. Kerina Hughes (AIA): 27.16 sec. PB

Photo finish from the 200 metre quarterfinal

25 August 2003: Merlene Ottey - grace in motion
Read the article "Ottey - grace in motion" written by Bob Ramsak on the IAAF website.

24 August 2003: Merlene Ottey out in the semifinal of the 100 metres
Merlene Ottey had to settle for 6th position in the semifinal of the women's 100 metere this afternoon. She ran in the same as in the heats (11.26 sec.) and thereby she finished 10th in her final World Championships. In the race Ottey had a slow reaction and never in contention for the four places in the final. Her finish is still very solid and gives good hopes for the 200 metres - starting Tuesday.
In an analysis after the semifinal on Eurosport Stephan Franke spoke to Marion Jones. Stephan Franke: "What about Merlene Ottey? We prayed or hoped that she was going to be in the final".
Marion Jones: "Not this time. I mean you can't take anything away from Merlene. She is 43. She is running against kids who are 23-24 years old. She was one of my favourites to make the final and I would have loved to see her run in a final ... 20 years after her first major championship. It was not meant to be, but trust me: We will see this woman again!"

100 metre - final (wind: 0.9) 100 metre - semifinal 1 (wind: 0.8)
1. Kelli White (USA): 10.85 sec. PB/WL
2. Torri Edwards (USA): 10.93 sec. PB
3. Zhanna Block (UKR): 10.99 sec. SB
4. Chandra Sturrup (BAH): 11.02 sec.
5. Ekaterini Thanou (GRE): 11.03 sec. SB
6. Christine Arron (FRA): 11.06 sec.
7. Aleen Bailey (JAM): 11.07 sec. PB
8. Gail Devers (USA): 11.11 sec. SB
1. Kelli White (USA): 10.96 sec.
2. Christine Arron (FRA): 11.01 sec SB
3. Zhanna Block (UKR): 11.02 sec. SB
4. Aleen Bailey (JAM): 11.15 sec.
5. Marina Kislova (RUS): 11.15 sec.
6. Merlene Ottey (SLO): 11.26 sec.
7. Kim Gevaert (BEL): 11.32 sec.
-. Lyubov Perepelova (UZB): DNS

Photo finish from the 100 metre semifinal


23 August 2003: Merlene Ottey in the heats of the women's 100 metres
Merlene Ottey started the first day of her 7th participation in the IAAF World Championships by qualifying for the semifinal of the women's 100 metres. 
In the first round Merlene Ottey ran in lane 8 and was slow out of the blocks compared to Kelli White and 60 metre specialist Sevatheda Fynes. But Ottey showed once again a strong finish passing Fynes and catching Kelli White on the line to finish in an equal time with the American winner (11.26 sec.). 
In the quarterfinal Merlene got a rather fast start (fastest reaction of all: 0.139 sec.), but lost ground to Block and Arron in the accelerating fase. In the latter stages of the race she kept her pace to finish third behind the two favourites and qualify for the semifinals. Merlene was shaking her head after the race and she only has the 14th fastest time of the 16 women in the semifinals. In a short statement after the race on Eurosport Ottey said: "It will be good if I can make it to the final - we will see tomorrow". Asked directly Ottey confirmed: "I will retire after the Olympics next year".  

Merlene Ottey in action in the first round

In the first round Merlene Ottey ran against a women from Afghanistan (Lima Azimi), who attracted most of the media attention by running in long trousers and being tought by the organisers how to use the starting blocks. It was the first time an Afghan woman has represented the country in a major competition (all sports). Azimi finished the race in 18.37 sec (PB).

Merlene said: "I'm happy she had a chance to compete here. She'll probably be better next year. She didn't have a lot of preparation if she had to be taught how to use the starting blocks".

Azimi closest to the camera and Ottey in lane 8

100 metre - quarterfinal 2 (wind: -0.1)
1. Zhanna Block (UKR): 11.08 sec.
2. Christine Arron (FRA): 11.08 sec.
3. Merlene Ottey (SLO): 11.31 sec.
4. Lyubov Perepelova (UZB): 11.35 sec.
5. Agné Eggert (LTU): 11.36 sec.
6. Endurance Ojokolo (NGR): 11.
7. Winneth Dube (ZIM): 11. 
8. Kadiatou Camara (MLI): 11 

100 metre - First round - heat 3 (wind: -0.2)
1. Kelli White (USA): 11.26 sec. 
2. Merlene Ottey (SLO): 11.26 sec.
3. Kim Gevaert (BEL): 11.30 sec.
4. Sevatheda Fynes (BAH): 11.49 sec.
5. Grace Dinkins (LBR): 11.90 sec.
6. Irma Navarrete (NCA): 12.93 sec.
7. Lima Azimi (AFG): 18.37 sec. PB

(The first three women in the second quarterfinal: Arron, Block & Ottey)

21 August 2003: Merlene Ottey in Paris
Merlene Ottey is now in Paris and preparing for her start in the women's 100 metre heats Saturday morning. 
The IAAF World Championships in Paris will be Merlene's 7th participation which is a record. She is the only athlete who also took part in the very first IAAF World Championships back in 1983 in Helsinki. 

The Slovenian team for Paris 
(pdf-file with information and statistics) 

Merlene Ottey's events in Paris

Merlene Ottey has confirmed that her intention is to run both the 100, 200 and 4 x 100 metres in Paris. Below you will find the time schedule for the events as well as a list of the main contenders over the two individual sprint distances - the first eight being a tip for the finalists.

Time schedule 100 metres Time schedule 200 metres

Time schedule 4 x 100 metres

Heats: 23 August at 10.30
Quarterfinals: 23 August at 19.40
Semifinals: 24 August at 16.55
Final: 24 August at 19.45
Heats: 26 August at 10.45
Quarterfinals: 26 August at 19.50
Semifinals: 27 August at 19.40
Final: 28 August at 21.45
Heats: 29 August at 19.25
Semifinals: 29 August at 21.00
Final: 30 August 19.45 


Main 100 metre contenders (SB)

Main 200 metre contenders (SB)

Chandra Sturrup (BAH): 10.89
Kelli White (USA): 10.93 PB
Christine Arron (FRA): 11.05
Torri Edwards (USA): 11.05 PB
Zhanna Block (UKR): 11.11
Merlene Ottey (SLO): 11.22
Marina Kislova (RUS): 11.11
Debbie Ferguson (BAH): 10.97
Karin Mayr-Krifka (AUT): 11.15 PB
Aleen Bailey (JAM): 11.08 PB
Inger Miller (USA): 11.16
Beverly McDonald (JAM): 11.24
Kim Gevaert (BEL): 11.21
Mary Onyali (NGR): 11.09
Endurance Ojokolo (NGR): 11.22
Natasha Mayers (VIN): 11.09
Kelli White (USA): 22.21 PB
Torri Edwards (USA): 22.28 PB
Cydonie Mothersill (CAY): 22.45 PB
Anastasiya Kapachinskaya (RUS): 22.48 PB
Debbie Ferguson (BAH): 22.50
Muriel Hurtis (FRA): 22.51
Allyson Felix (USA): 22.11 PB
Merlene Ottey (SLO): 22.89
Aleen Bailey (JAM). 22.59
Kim Gevaert (BEL): 22.64
Beverly McDonald (JAM): 22.67
Juliet Campbell (JAM): 22.69
Maryna Maydanova (UKR): 22.70
Zhanna Block (UKR): 22.70
Natalya Safronnikova (BLR): 22.71
Svetlana Goncharenko (RUS): 22.79

Seasons best statistics on Merlene Ottey

100 metres: 11.22 sec. (Velenje, Slovenia on 7 June 2003)
200 metres: 22.89 sec. (Nova Gorica, Slovenia on 10 August 2003)
4 x 100 metres: 43.91 sec. (Pergine Valsugana/Trento, Italy on 25 July 2003)

Quotes by Merlene Ottey

Merlene on the 2003 season: 
"My goal is the World Championships, and if I peak at the right time there is no telling what can happen".

Merlene on why she continues running at the age of 43: 
"Age does not bother me. I am still hugely motivated even though I compete with athletes twice as young as me"
"Still, I think the games in Athens will be my last competition"

"Without the joy you are not able to keep the motivation. Furthermore I try to protect my body and avoid injuries".

Merlene on moving to and getting citizenship in Slovenia: 
"It has given me new energy"
"It will be a new challenge for me to try winning a medal for Slovenia"

Merlene on her relations with Jamaica: 
"I am not being met with hostility and I believe that people in Jamica still appreciate me as an athlete"

Always good-looking: Merlene Ottey


Merlene Ottey's races so far in 2003

Merlene's medals at World Championships

IAAF World Rankings

IAAF Top Lists 2003


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