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Schippers eager to turn tables on Thompson at world champs


London (AFP)

Dafne Schippers will get only one bite at avenging defeat in the two Olympic sprint finals last year to her bitter rival Elaine Thompson at the world athletics championships starting Friday.

The statuesque Dutch runner will not have Thompson breathing down her neck when she defends her 200m world crown, the Jamaican having opted to focus solely on the 100m until the 2020 Olympics.

But nothing would give Schippers greater pleasure than to defeat the 25-year-old Jamaican in Sunday's final -- provided of course they both make it through Saturday's heats and the semi-finals.

Schippers, who was a top class heptathlete winning world bronze in 2013 but then switched to sprinting, saw too much of Thompson's back in Rio finishing fifth in the 100m and runner-up in the 200m whilst a nightmare Games ended when she messed up a baton exchange in the 4x100m relay.

However, Schippers -- who has had a bridge named in her honour in her home town of Utrecht -- is hopeful that she can make the championships in London a far happier experience given her frosty relationship with Thompson.

"It's very bad," Schippers confessed to the Daily Mail in July. "I don't know why. Maybe because we are both big talents.

"If she says 'Hi', I will say 'Hi'. I am more of an easy person. With the European athletes, I can have fun with them. I am an easy person to talk to. If she won't do that, then OK," added the 25-year-old.

Schippers, who took time adjust to the attention after landing double European gold in 2014, compares the lack of empathy with Thompson to her friendly relationship with now retired British heptathlon legend Jessica Ennis-Hill.

"When I did heptathlon, it was friendlier," she said. "I spent a week in Sheffield with Jess Ennis when I was 18. Jess was a hero for me."

- 'Mood not great' -

Schippers nevertheless has huge respect for Thompson as an athlete and her dominance last year has prompted the Dutch sprinter to change both her training and coach.

"Now I train with a real sprint coach and I try to work on the start more than I ever did and try to make progress and try to be a real sprinter because before I used to train with a heptathlon coach," she told the Jamaica Gleaner in June.

"I think it is always cool (the rivalry); because she (Thompson) is fast and I am fast and it is nice competing with each other and I love that."

Thompson -- who endured a troubled childhood and was brought up by her grandmother -- left her Dutch rival in her wake despite running in trainers at the London Diamond League meet in July.

However, Schippers is determined to show that Rio was a blip and she can turn things round.

"My mood was not great after Rio. I came for Gold and didn't get it. There is always the next Gold. Starting in London!"

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