Thursday, July 4, 2013

US 200m champion Kimberlyn Duncan set for European debut

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) - Newly crowned American 200-meter champion Kimberlyn Duncan hopes her first individual race in Europe will help prepare her for the world championships next month. Duncan is one of the main attractions at the Athletissima Diamond League meet Thursday after punching her ticket to worlds by beating Olympic champion Allyson Felix at nationals. "This is something brand new for me. I'm switching over from collegiate athletics to professional," the 21-year-old LSU star told reporters, joking that she wants to "see what is going on" in the international circuit. As a three-time NCAA champion in the 200 outdoors and once indoors, Duncan is used to dominating her competition. For the Diamond League rookie, that changes in Lausanne, where the field will include Olympic bronze medalist Carmelita Jeter. Felix was entered but withdrew Tuesday. "I'm excited about it. I know I have to step it up," said Duncan, whose main focus is improving her mental preparation for races. Her only previous European race was at Monaco last July as part of a winning American 4x100 relay team at the Herculis Diamond League meet. The quartet included Lauryn Williams, who went on to win gold in the relay in London. "It was my first time going overseas and getting out of the country," Duncan said. "I was happy to have had that experience with that race and, of course, with Olympic champions." Duncan's schedule includes returning to Monaco on July 19, after running at a second-tier meet July 10 in Budapest, Hungary. Worlds start Aug. 10 in Moscow.