Holmes unsure whether to keep her distance

Last updated at 15:11 05 August 2004

Olympic medal contender Kelly Holmes will not rush her decision about which distance to contest at the Olympic Games.

Holmes completes her pre-Olympic racing programme tomorrow night when taking on a top field in the IAAF Weltklasse Golden League meeting in Zurich.

It was expected the Commonwealth 1500metres champion, who favours that distance but also has the opportunity to compete over 800m in Athens, might reveal her Olympic intentions after the Swiss race.

But Holmes insisted she will not be hasty and needs time to be sure her decision is the right one.

"For the moment I just want to concentrate on this race and get it out of the way," said Holmes, fully recovered from a recent calf injury.

"Then on Saturday I'm flying off to the British training camp in Paphos to complete my final preparations."

Holmes, who took bronze over 800m at the Sydney Olympics four years ago, recently defeated European champion Jolanda Ceplak, raising expectations that she would opt for the shorter event.

But her heart has always been with the metric mile, despite the fact in two previous Games appearances she has failed to make a strong medal challenge.

The 34-year-old realises time is no longer on her side and Athens will be her third and final appearance for Team GB.

"I'm not going to rush myself given this is my last Olympics," said the country's greatest-ever women's middle-distance runner.

"Obviously it's a big decision and I've got to get it right.

"With the 1500m taking place after the 800m it's going to be a difficult one and I'm not taking any risks. There's a lot to consider.

"I'll be in a better position to decide what to do when I get out to Cyprus. I'll be training hard there and that will give me a good instinct, which I do have.

"I'll not be making any rash choices and I've still got three weeks to decide," said the former army sergeant whose 11-year career has been badly affected by serious injuries.

The "Three Hour Olympics"

Hayley Tullett, last year's world 1500m bronze medallist, joins Holmes in the world's best track meeting which has earned the Weltklasse the title of the "Three Hour Olympics".

Tullett came back from a hamstring injury to record her highest-ever Golden League finish when inched out of first place in Paris a fortnight ago.

Now the Welsh star will be looking for further improvement and the clash with Holmes - who beat her for the Commonwealth title two years ago- will add domestic spice to the race.

Jo Pavey, returning from a leg injury and racing for the first time since early June, will be aiming to prove her fitness before undertaking the Olympic 5,000m.

Pavey was a finalist four years ago in Sydney and is joined in the 3,000m at the sell-out Letzigrund Stadium by Scotland's Kathy Butler, sharpening her speed before running 10,000m in Athens.

Darren Campbell is the only British sprinter at the meeting, not surprisingly after he, Jason Gardener and Mark Lewis-Francis all failed to make the 100m final at the London meeting.

Michael East is aiming to lower his 1500m personal best against a stacked field featuring world record-holder Hicham El Guerrouj and another half-dozen elite African athletes.