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Athletics - 22. May 2009.

Clark and Rowbury, headline Pre Classic middle distance races


2008 Olympic Trials champions Hazel Clark and Shannon Rowbury will compete June 7 at the 2009 Nike Prefontaine Classic at historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene.


The fifth event of the 2009 USA Track & Field Outdoor Visa Championship Series, the Nike Prefontaine Classic will be televised live on NBC from 2:00-4:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

In the women's 800 meters, Hazel Clark returns to Hayward Field after winning the Olympic Trials there last year in qualifying for her third Olympic Team. Clark will be challenged by Olympic Trials runner-up Alice Schmidt, who ended the 2008 season ranked #1 in the U.S. by T&FN. The favorite in the race will be Janeth Jepkosgei of Kenya, who won the silver medal at the 2008 Olympics and finished the season ranked #2 in the world. Also look for 2004 and 2008 Olympic finalist Tatyana Andrianova of Russia to challenge for top honors.


Shannon Rowbury will lead the U.S. contingent in the women's 1,500 meters following a standout 2008 season where she won at the Olympic Trials, finished seventh at the Olympic Games and ended the season ranked #1 in the U.S. and #6 in the world. Other Americans to watch out for in this event include 2008 Olympic 10,000m bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan, and standout 3,000m steeplechasers and 2008 Olympic Games finalists Anna Willard (2008 Olympic Trials champion) and Jenny Barringer (American record holder). 2008 Pre Classic runner-up and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Nancy Lagat of Kenya will be one of the favorites, along with Ethiopia's Gelete Burka, who is the defending Pre Classic champion and the #2 ranked women's 1,500m runner in the world.


Tickets for the 2009 Nike Prefontaine Classic may be purchased by calling 1-800-WEBFOOT or go online to www.goducks.com. USATF welcomes you to pay with your Visa.


For more information on the 2009 Prefontaine Classic and the USATF Visa Championship Series, visit: www.visachampionshipseries.com.

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