Atheltics: O'Sullivan's run continues: Irish woman blazes trail

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The Independent Online
SONIA O'SULLIVAN, her eyes set on next month's European Championships in Helsinki, maintained a level of performance in Stockholm last night that will chill her rivals.

Having taken the world 2,000 metres record in Edinburgh last Friday, the Irish runner produced the second fastest 1500m this season - only Qu Yunxia, the Chinese world record holder, has run faster - to underline her versatility. She ran 4min 00.46sec to finish well clear of the Russian 42-year-old, Yekaterina Podkopayeva, and the Commonwealth 3,000m champion, Angela Chalmers of Canada.

'Everything seems to be coming together,' O'Sullivan said afterwards. 'I was thinking about running a little bit faster here tonight, but I didn't feel as smooth and as fluid as I did in Edinburgh. Now I want to get in a good 3,000m, because I haven't run one this year.'

That effort is scheduled for Friday in the TSB Games at Crystal Palace. Last night the disgruntled Stockholm promoter, Rajne Soderberg, sought to put in jeopardy the participation of Linford Christie, Sally Gunnell and John Regis at Crystal Palace.

He claimed that all three pulled out of last night's meeting at such short notice that he had no chance to organise suitable replacements and has asked the International Amateur Athletic Federation to invoke their code of conduct for injury, which would put the athletes out of competition for seven days.

The British Athletic Federation will oppose any such ban. Its spokesman, Tony Ward, pointed out that Stockholm was never on Christie's racing programme. The BAF executive chirman, Peter Radford, spoke to both Gunnell and Regis on Monday, and was satisfied with medical evidence they produced testifying that they were suffering respectively from back and knee injuries.

Dennis Mitchell, who was unhappy with running 9.99sec in Lausanne last week when Leroy Burrell set the world record of 9.85, improved a little further in winning the 100m in 9.97. His compatriot, Andre Cason, was second in 10.04, with Jon Drummond third in 10.16.

Jeff Williams, of the United States, ran 20.19 to beat the world 200m champion, Frankie Fredericks, who recorded 20.29. Jan Zelezny, the world and Olympic javelin champion, who is also due to compete at Crystal Palace, won with 83.10 metres, ahead of Patrick Boden, of Sweden. Moses Kiptanui, the world 3,000m steeplechase champion, won in 8:09.16.