Jones ready to get back to her best

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Marion Jones announced on Friday that she will run the 100 metres at the Reebok Grand Prix on Saturday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:34 IST
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New York:

Marion Jones announced on Friday that she will run the 100 metres at the Reebok Grand Prix on Saturday, her first race in the United States in more than a year. Jones looked upbeat and relaxed during her press conference in midtown Manhattan where she made the announcement. The former Olympic champion last ran in her home country at the Kansas Relays in April 2005. However, she now seems determined to try and get back to the form that saw her win three Olympic Golds at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She has won races in Mexico and the Netherlands since her return to the track after an 11-month absence and decided the event on Saturday was one she could not miss. However, the 20-year-old is well aware she faces a tough field, with world champion Lauryn Williams and silver-medallist Veronica Campbell due to face her in the 100 metres. "So I was happy to get the first one (race) out of the way and run a pretty fast time, in comparison to what everybody else is currently running right now, and it was the first one, 11.06 for your first run in 11 months, I'm extremely encouraged by that,” said Jones. Jones also plans on running the 100 at the US championships this month in Indianapolis, and has her sights set on the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Since her heyday of the 2000 Olympics, Jones has been dogged with suspicion over possible doping violations, injury concerns and upheavals in her personal life. The American has never tested positive for drugs and repeatedly has denied using banned substances, but remains under investigation as part of the BALCO doping scandal. BALCO founder Victor Conte accused Jones of using banned substances. Jones acknowledged that it has not been easy dealing with the negative publicity. "Sure it's very difficult, and if I was the type of person that solely relied on the opinions and the views of a select few, then I would be done with the sport. But I've never been like that, I'm not like that now, I believe in myself, and what I've achieved, and the people that matter to me are my fans and my family. They know that everything that I've done in the sport and in my career, is truthful,” said Jones. Jones says she is resuming her career because she simply loves running, and not because she wants to prove to her doubters that her past success was not due to steroids. Fans in Europe should be pleased to know that Marion Jones' future may indeed include races there. Perhaps the best of the rest of the field, who will give Jones a run for her money, is Jamaica's Veronica Campbell, who's run a personal best of 10.85. Jones won five medals, including three gold, at the 2000 Sydney Olympics but was earned no medals at the 2004 Athens Games. She attempted to qualify for the US World championships team in 2005, but walked off the track before the 100 preliminaries with a hip injury. (AP)

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