Jose Perec planning to run in World championship

Organisers of this year's athletics World Championships in Paris said they hoped triple-Olympic champion Marie-Jose Perec (Pic. right, AP) would be the star-attraction of the worlds, but that she must first earn her place on France's team.

Perec, who has not raced since fleeing the Sydney Olympics three years ago claiming her life had been threatened, had announced earlier this year that she planned to race at the IAAF World Championships in August.

"The return of Marie-Jose Perec to these games is fantastic," said Jean Dussourd, President of the organising committee for the event. "It helps to close the book on Sydney and turn over a new leaf." However, Dussourd was quick to dismiss questions over whether Perec's place on the team was guaranteed and she wouldn't need to meet a minimum qualifying time.

"It would be great of course if Marie-Jose returned, but she has to do it the right way — by qualifying," Dussourd told a news conference. Former French athletics star Colette Besson, winner of the 400-metres Olympic gold medal in 1968, said that Perec, who will be 35 in May, could still challenge for a medal.