Athletics: Battling Black bows out on wave of emotion
Monday 03 August 1998
Members of Black's family including his mother were among a crowd of around 10,000 who turned out on a day of rare summer sunshine to witness the farewell appearance of the Olympic silver medalist and former European champion, as well as to enjoy the rest of the best that British athletics has to offer these days.
The expected battle royal between Britain's Paula Radcliffe and Ireland Sonia O'Sullivan in the women's 3,000m failed to materialise as Radcliffe destroyed the field with a devastating display of front-running, breaking Mary Decker-Slaney's seven-year-old stadium record to win by half the length of the home straight in a time of 8:38.84.
"I don't know exactly how far in front I was and I don't know what happened to Sonia," Radcliffe said. "One minute she was there and the next she was gone. I didn't kick so I can't explain it. I guess she's having a bit of an up and down time at the moment but it's got to be a psychological boost going into the Europeans whatever she decides to run.
"I'm a bit disappointed that I slowed up towards the end because I really thought I was in shape to run a personal best. But I'm still coming down a bit from altitude training so I can't complain too much."
Colin Jackson was beaten over the high hurdles again by Americans. Reggie Torrian won in 13.15 and the world champion Allen Johnson was second in 13.22. Jackson, in 13.24, just held off the challenge of another, Mark Crear, to take third but it was not the sort of performance the world record holder would have been looking for so close to a major championship.
The women's 400m provided an exciting curtain-raiser to the evening, with the British champion, Allison Curbishley, who plans to turn to the 400m hurdles in the winter, making all the running before being pipped on the line by Pauline Davis, the world bronze medallist from the Bahamas. Another Briton, Donna Fraser, was third.
Blessed by the weather, the organisers tried everything from sultry jazz at the start of the evening to constant appeals for crowd participation wherever possible in order to generate the kind of atmosphere found at some of the other European Grand Prix meetings.
To a great extent it worked, with the Britons Jonathan Edwards in the triple jump and Janine Whitlock in the pole vault having their every attempt greeted by an enormous roar. Whitlock and Emma George, the Australian world record holder, both cleared 4.22m but were beaten on countback by Germany's Nastja Rysich.
Edwards duly won his event, but the sore ankle he has struggled with all summer meant that he was a long way short of his best with 17.14m. "The redeeming factor was that I won," he said. "I am at a loss as to why I jumped so badly so I just want to erase it from my memory and get on with the next competition, subject to my ankle feeling okay."
Steve Backley was also on top form, winning the men's javelin with 88.80m, beating the world champion Marius Corbett among others, while in the men's 200m Scotland's Dougie Walker, a metre down on Darren Campbell coming off the bend, closed the gap to win in 20.38 with the Englishman having to settle for a personal best. In the women's 200m Katherine Merry finished a disappointing fourth.
The men's 800m was won in impressive style by the Moroccan Mahjoub Haida in 1min 45.03sec, while the world 400m hurdles champion, France's Stephane Diagana, showed a welcome return to form with victory in 48.70. Paul Gray, one of Linford Christie's proteges, set a Welsh record of 49.76.
Kenya's Paul Tergat, who who will run in Brussels at the end of the month when he hopes to regain the world 10,000m record he once held, won the men's 3,000m in 7:39.50, while the women's 100m hurdles went to Melissa Morrison, of the United States, in 12.74.
Dwaine Chambers took the men's 100m in 10.24 from fellow Briton Marlon Devonish, whose second place was enough to assure him of the overall prize of $10,000 for the three-race Nivea Men's Challenge that has been running at various meetings throughout the summer.
The Emsley Carr Mile was won by another Kenyan, Laban Rotich, in 3:51.74, beating Britain's John Mayock and Anthony Whiteman into second and third respectively.
Latest in Sport
Frank Lampard equalises for Manchester City against Chelsea: how Twitter reacted
All Blacks Aaron Cruden misses New Zealand flight after drinking session, has brilliant excuse
Manchester City vs Chelsea match report: Frank Lampard shows no joy after denying Chelsea victory
Leicester City 5 Manchester United 3 player ratings: Leonard Ulloa? Radamel Falcao? Jamie Vardy? Angel Di Maria? Who was the star man?
Leicester City vs Manchester United match report: Jamie Vardy runs lopsided United ragged in amazing comeback
- 1 All Blacks Aaron Cruden misses New Zealand flight after drinking session, has brilliant excuse
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': TV reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 Alicia Keys leaks nude photo 'to create a kinder and more peaceful world'
- 5 Clothes store Joy angers mental health campaigners with Twitter exchange on bipolar disorders
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...
£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...
£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...