Athletics: Baulch sets sights on beating a legend

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The Independent Online
Jamie Baulch believes that the American 400m legend and Olympic champion, Michael Johnson, can be toppled by the hungry new breed of British one-lap runners.

Baulch coasted to victory in the rarely-run 300m at the Welsh Games in Cardiff on Saturday, then set his sights on facing Johnson in Sheffield later this month: "I am going to be ready for that race, especially with it being in front of a British crowd," said the 23-year-old Welshman. "With Michael and Roger Black racing and all the rest of us there, it is going to be dog eat dog that day.

"If Frankie [Fredericks] can beat Michael over 200m then there is no reason why someone can't do it over 400m, especially if he [Johnson] is not running very well."

Baulch, who won a silver medal at the world indoors last March, easily saw off one of his rivals, Mark Hylton, to win in a Welsh best of 32.06sec.

Scotland's Ian Mackie also ran a Games best in the 150m, but fell agonisingly short of Linford Christie's British record of 14.97 by two-hundredths of a second and admitted that was his fault for not running flat-out to the finishing line. "If I'd known I was close to the record I wouldn't have eased up. I'm a bit gutted," he said. "But I thought I had run through the tape.

"But Colin [Jackson] told me afterwards that I'd eased off. It must be an automatic thing. I just relaxed too much."

Fredericks was due to run the 150m as a favour to Jackson, his training partner. But he was forced to withdraw after his national federation told him he would be in a "sticky situation" if he ran in Europe on the same weekend as the Namibian trials were being held - implying selection for Athens could be at risk.