Athletics: Adam emerges from shadows

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The Independent Online
AS EXPECTED, a veteran sprinter confirmed his return to top level athletics at this weekend's Lynx Express AAA indoor championships. But it was Marcus Adam, the 1990 Commonwealth 200m champion, who made the impact, rather than the man who won the Commonwealth 100m title in the same year, Linford Christie.

While Christie had had to call off his temporary return from retirement after suffering a hamstring twinge while qualifying for Saturday's 60m final, Adam, who is 30 next month, regained his form of 10 years ago.

He stayed clear of accident or injury to win the 200m yesterday in an outstanding time of 20.77sec. "I'm surprised and shocked at the time," he said. "I haven't been putting in that much work at this level because of the illness."

He was referring to the bronchial problems which had led to what he described as "muscle trauma", a difficulty that he said was blamed on the surroundings of his flat in Hackney. "Some days I'm spaced out," he said. "I will have one good day and a couple of bad ones."

Adam, whose career has been interrupted by injury and illness since those heady days Down Under, has the chance to fulfil his potential this season, starting in next month's world indoor championships in Maebashi, Japan.

Two of Adam's closest rivals on the day, John Regis and Doug Turner, suffered the same fortunes as Christie had the day before as hamstring strains left them unwilling to risk serious injury on the tight national indoor arena track.

But the presence of Solomon Wariso, who moved up to the 400 metres with such dramatic effect last season, meant Adam was never going to have it easy. Wariso stayed in touch to take silver in 20.88. The shorter sprint on Saturday went to Jason Gardener, who, showing the form which brought him the European indoor silver medal last year, won in 6.57sec.

Colin Jackson earned his fifth AAA indoor 60m hurdles title in 7.59sec, closely followed by 21-year-old Scot Ross Baillie, who recorded 7.72sec, 0.03sec inside the world indoor championship qualifying time.

Jackson, who was second to Tony Dees in Saturday's Chemnitz meeting in 7.48, was pleased with his own form as he looks forward to an indoor season in which he hopes to win what would be the first world indoor title of his career.

Shani Anderson, a 21-year-old coached by Clarence Callendar, appeared to have earned a trip to Maebashi by winning the 200m in exuberant fashion in a time of 23.90sec. Afterwards she thanked her coach for getting her to work on her speed endurance - "all those 400s are paying off," she said.

Eddie King, of Northern Ireland, another 21-year-old, was a hugely convincing winner of a 1500m in which Spencer Barden provided a fast pace from the gun, and finished inside the world qualifying time in 3min 40.25sec with an upright, pattering style that was faintly reminiscent of Michael Johnson.

Ben Challenger, the Commonwealth high jump silver medallist, reaffirmed his promise with a victory in 2.25m, although his expected meeting with Steve Smith, the Olympic bronze medallist, did not transpire. Smith, due to make his first competitive jump since injuring his neck six months ago, had to pull out after twisting an ankle in training.

Janine Whitlock, a close second in Saturday's 60m final, employed her speed yesterday to improve the UK all comers' pole vault record to 4.13m.

And at the age of 39, Judith Oakes collected her 16th AAA indoor shot title despite carrying a leg injury. Her final effort of 17.23m proved far too much for a field of whom four competitors were not even born when she collected her first title in 1977.