Hoffa seeking second gold in world indoors shot put

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ISTANBUL — Former Lakeside High and University of Georgia standout Reese Hoffa will attempt to win a second gold medal in the shot put after winning at the 2006 world indoor championships.

The prelude for one of the big clashes at the London Olympics will be played out on opening day today when defending champion Jessica Ennis faces off against Tatyana Chernova in the pentathlon.

The two will compete in five events in one day, deciding who gets the bragging rights going into the Olympic heptathlon.

In the heats of the 3,000 meters, Ethiopian great Meseret Defar begins her quest to become the first female athlete to win five consecutive world indoor gold medals.

Also competing for the U.S. is Sanya Richards-Ross, who has the best two 400 times of the year. Russia’s Aleksandra Fedoriva might be her closest challenger, along with the Russian team in the 4x400 race.

In the men’s sprint, it will likely turn into another Jamaica-U.S. duel.

Lerone Clarke, of Jamaica, has been on a roll coming into Istanbul. He had the world’s fastest 60-meter time until Trell Kimmons went to high altitude and ran 6.45 seconds in Albuquerque, N.M, knocking 0.02 off the mark.

Stars Olympic champion Usain Bolt and world champion Yohan Blake traditionally skip the indoor season.

Defar sees her race her as a vital preparation for the Olympics, where she will be trying to win back the gold medal she took at the 2004 Athens Games before finishing with bronze in Beijing four years later.

All eyes in Britain will be on Ennis. She won the 2009 world heptathlon title in Berlin and added the indoor pentathlon a year later. A surging Chernova reached the pinnacle of the multi-event discipline last year in Daegu, South Korea, when she edged the Briton for gold in the outdoor seven-event heptathlon.

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