Mottram and Johnson into the spotlight - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mottram and Johnson into the spotlight

By John Salvado 11/02/2004 05:30:15 PM Comments (0)

In the absence of injured 400m hurdles world champion Jana Pittman, top billing on the track will go to distance stars Craig Mottram and Benita Johnson in Thursday's A Series meet at Olympic Park.

Mottram will target his own national record of 13 minutes 12.04 seconds in the 5,000m.

New Zealander Michael Aishe is the runner most likely to stay with Mottram, who thinks he is in the type of form to run 13:05 or better in the lead-up to next month's World Indoor Championships.

"He's going to need plenty of speed when he comes up against the likes of Haile Gebrselassie at the World Indoors," said Mottram's coach Nick Bideau.

"But he's in good shape and he's talking himself up with the national record."

Mottram won the Zatopek 10,000m in his last visit to Olympic Park in December, but it's the 5,000m that he has targetted for the Athens Olympics.

Not so his training partner Johnson, who plans to run the 10,000m in Athens.

But on Thursday night she will step down to the 5,000m to take on another training partner, Haley McGregor, who has also bettered the Olympic 10,000m A standard.

"It looks like a really strong race tomorrow night, but I'm not necessarily expecting a fast time," said Johnson.

"It's good to be back on the track and taking on Haley, who's really improving."

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