Larry Achike, Shaftesbury Barnet's triple jump international, is determined to put the disappointment of a poor 2002 season behind him and regain his place in the British team for the world championships in Paris in August.

Last summer, Achike failed to qualify to defend his Commonwealth title in Manchester, and rarely exceeded 16.50m, well below his best of over 17.30m.

His coach, former international Frank Attoh, attributes Achike's failings to poor preparation.

"Larry spent four to five months undergoing warm climate training in Australia last winter and that's far too long for an athlete to be away from his coach," said Attoh.

Achike has been preparing for the coming season with the British jumps squad in South Africa. Attoh, who is flying out to join him, said: "This time Larry is only away for just over a month and we will return before February to continue his preparations."

Achike was close to gaining an Olympic medal in Sydney in 2000, and a repeat of that form would put him in with a chance at Paris.

"We have redefined his training schedule, and will be working hard together to ensure that he has a better season," said Attoh.

"It's an important time in his career for Larry. He'll be 30 next year when the Olympics are held in Athens."

Attoh is also coach to Yamile Alderma, silver medallist in the triple jump at the world championships in San Sebastian four years ago, when representing Cuba. Alderma has since married a Briton and is seeking British nationality. The change might not be completed in time for her to contest the world indoor championships in Birmingham in March. But she will be eligible to compete in Paris.

Shaftesbury's Lee McConnell, who performed magnificently in gaining 400m medals for Britain at the Commonwealth Games and European championships last summer, has her sights set on reaching the final in Paris.

"I've lots to learn, but I'm confident of going faster this year and have my eye on the final."

The medal double, a Commonwealth silver and a European bronze, was a tremendous achievement by 24-year-old Lee. Three times Scottish high jump champion, she only started serious training over 400m in the winter of 2000-2001.

From a modest start, clocking just under 54 seconds in her first competitive run over the distance, Lee trimmed her best time to 50.82secs when fourth for Europe at the athletics World Cup in Madrid in September. She was ahead of European No1 Oleysa Zykina of Russia, a strong pointer to her prospects in Paris.

All this despite having her winter preparation disrupted through breathing problems, later diagnosed as a virus. Last winter was spent boosting her physical strength, but she is now concentrating more on speed work.

Another Shaftesbury star over 400m, Catherine Murphy, has similar ambitions. After running well to reach the final at the European indoor championships, Catherine was sixth in the Commonwealth final in 52.92secs.

But her hopes of a repeat in the European event in Munich ended in the heat, when she had to pull up sharply approaching the finishing straight with what proved to be a rare injury to a tight band of muscle beneath the arch of the foot.

McConnell and Murphy will have a new rival in the coming season club colleague Shani Anderson, who is stepping up in distance.

Captain of the British women's team at the Commonwealth Games, Shani was sixth in the 100m final.

She was also a 200m semi-finalist at the European championships.

Other strong contenders from Shaftesbury for world championship places are Abi Oyepitan, Natasha Danvers, Nick Nieland, Rob Mitchell, Julie Dunkley, Zoe Brown, Dominic Bannister and Tony Whiteman.