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Tricky workout for O'Rourke in Cork

SPRINT hurdler Derval O'Rourke faces stiff opposition on her home track at the 59th Cork City Sports in the CIT stadium.

O'Rourke, who has already run 12.80 seconds this season, hit the final hurdle and fell at a race in Germany last weekend.

She will face two of the best hurdlers in the world on Saturday.

Kellie Wells from the USA finished second to Lolo Jones in the US Championships last weekend and has a best time of 12.58. Even faster is Priscilla Lopes-Schliep from Canada who ran 12.49 several years ago.

Two other Americans, Nichole Denby and April Garner, are in a line-up that could produce the fastest women's hurdles race ever seen in Ireland.

World-class hammer throwing makes a welcome return to Cork in the opening event of the day (1.30).

In 1984, the great Yuri Sedykh set a new world record for the hammer at the Mardyke. Our own Eileen O'Keeffe visted Sedykh at his base in Paris for coaching advice a few years ago. Sadly O'Keeffe is injured and won't compete this season.

In a top-class women's hammer competition, she would have enjoyed taking on the likes of Kathrin Klaas from Germany who finished fourth at the World Championships in Berlin last August. Klaas has thrown over 74.53m and should easily break the meeting record of 62.60 set by the former Russian world record holder Olga Kuzenkova in 1993.

Pushing her hard will be sisters Marina and Zalina Marghiev from Moldova, who are both 72-metre throwers. England's No1 Zoe Derham and British junior champion Sophie Hitchon will also compete.

Home throwers in action will include Rachel Akers, Cara Kennedy, Mary Sutherland and Mairead O'Neill.

Paul Hession will hope for fast times after his great win at the European Cup. Former world champion Kim Collins leads a top-quality men's line-up and has career best times of 9.98 for 100m and 20.20 for 200m, although he's not as fast these days. Leading the women's line-up is Lauryn Williams, another former world champion.

Top-class fields are expected for the middle-distance races over 1500m and 3000m for men and 1500m for women. High jump and long jump for both men and women and pole vault for men are also on the programme.

Tickets are for sale at the gate, with free parking at the venue.