In her return, Kupets shines in uneven bars

The rust didn't show at all last weekend as 2003 U.S. gymnastics champion Courtney Kupets of Gaithersburg won the event that made her a world champion in 2002.

Performing only two routines to protect her repaired Achilles' tendon, the Magruder High student scored a 9.825 in the uneven bars - the highest score awarded at the 30th Parkette Invitational in Allentown, Pa.


For Kupets, 17, who was injured while warming up for the world championships in Anaheim, Calif., last August, the event marked her return to competition and the beginning of her push to make the U.S. squad, which will be selected in late June.

Two other athletes from Hill's Gymnastics in Gaithersburg placed in the all-around competition: Monica Shoji finished eighth with a score of 37.300 and Corey Hartung, a member of the U.S. Elite program, finished ninth with a score of 37.250.


Boston results

After an eight-year absence from the U.S. track scene, Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie set a meet record in the 3,000 meters, but failed to break the world record at last week's Boston Indoor Games.

The distance-running machine with 18 world records, Gebrselassie finished in 7 minutes, 35.24 seconds, short of the world record (7:24.90) held by Daniel Komen of Kenya.

Gail Devers, three-time Olympic gold medalist and U.S. women's record holder in the 60 hurdles, set a meet record with a time of 7.85. Devers, 37, hasn't committed to trying out for the U.S. team this summer.

Jen Toomey won the women's 800 in 2:00.77, American Jon Drummond had a time of 6.61 to win the men's 60, and 2000 Olympic gold medalist pole vaulter Stacy Dragila won at 15 feet, 1 1/2 inches.

The meet was the opening event of the U.S. Track and Field Golden Spike tour and precedes the U.S. indoor championships Feb. 27-29 in Boston. The world indoor championships are March 5-7 in Budapest, Hungary.

Wrestling slots filled

The United States and Iran have qualified for all seven freestyle wrestling weight classes for the summer games.


Chris Bono of Gilbert, Iowa, and Joe Williams of Iowa City, Iowa, secured the final two U.S. slots last weekend at the Olympic Qualification Tournament in Bratislava, Slovakia.

To qualify their nation for a weight class for the Olympics, wrestlers must finish in the top five during competition.

Williams won the gold medal in the 163-pound class with a 3-0 victory over Cuba's Ivan Fundora, the gold medalist in the 2003 Pan American Championships.

In the 145.5-pound class, Bono defeated 2000 Olympic gold medalist Ali Reza Dabir of Iran, 2-2, in overtime in a quarterfinal match. He was awarded the win based on having the least amount of cautions in the match.

Bono lost in the semifinal round and took the bronze medal.

Thirty-three other nations have guaranteed a slot in at least one weight classification. Cuba and the Ukraine have slots at six weight classes, followed by a number of former Soviet republics with five each.


As the host nation, Greece automatically qualifies a competitor in each class.

Twenty-eight positions remain open - four in each weight class - and will be determined at the final freestyle Olympic qualifying event Saturday and next Sunday in Bulgaria.

U.S. athletes will be selected to fill the weight classes at the team trials May 21-23 in Indianapolis.

Women's basketball set

The U.S. women's basketball team will open competition against New Zealand on Aug. 14 at the indoor arena at the Helliniko Olympic Complex.

The squad will then face the Czech Republic on the 16th, South Korea on the 18th, Spain on the 20th and China on the 22nd, the last day of preliminary competition.


The final will be held Aug. 28 at the 18,700-seat OAKA, the Athens Olympic Sports Hall and site of the 1998 men's basketball world championships.