Athletics: Baulch in command

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The Independent Online
Jamie Baulch emphasised his standing as favourite for the world indoor 400 metres title next month when he registered his third consecutive victory over the champion, Darnell Hall, of the United States, yesterday.

The 23-year-old Welshman, who will be seeking individual and relay medals in Paris from 7 to 9 March, recorded a time of 45.85sec to win at the Ricoh indoor event in Lievin, northern France. Hall was second in 46.07, with Mark Hylton, another British medal contender in Paris, finishing third in 46.53.

Baulch's coach, Colin Jackson, also registered a performance which augurs well for the 60m hurdles next month. The world 110m hurdles record holder was beaten by the world and Olympic champion, Allen Johnson, but will have been encouraged by recording the same time - 7.53.

Britain's hopes for the 60m in Paris are being carried by Jason Livingston, winner of the world indoor trials in Birmingham last weekend. Jamaicans Michael Gray and Ray Stewart gave a clue to the kind of standard to which he must aspire, finishing first and second in 6.49 and 6.53 respectively in Lievin. The Cuban, Ivan Pedroso, registered the second best indoor long jump ever, his 8.60m putting him behind Carl Lewis's 8.79m in 1984.

Meanwhile, in Australasia, the 36-year-old former Olympic champion Linford Christie - who has said that he does not plan to run any more major championships - kept his competitive instincts alive with a 100m victory over local opposition in 10.30sec.