Athletics / Bislett Games: Grindley is geared up for record

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DAVID GRINDLEY, whose premature victory celebration in Lausanne on Wednesday cost him the British 400 metres record, has the opportunity to make sure of it tonight at the Bislett Games here in Oslo. 'I know I can go faster,' said Grindley, who set the record of 44.47sec at last summer's Olympics. 'I think I can run 44.2 by the end of the season.'

As far as motivation goes his opposition could not be stronger - he faces Michael Johnson, the winner of the US trials in 43.74sec, and the world-record holder, Butch Reynolds. But Oslo is not a fast track for sprinters and the tight bends and narrow lanes - just six of them - will work against a fast time.

In the 100m, Linford Christie faces the man who took silver behind him in Barcelona last year, Frankie Fredericks, and the US champion, Andre Cason, who ran wind-assisted times of 9.79sec and 9.85 at the US trials in Eugene.

When Christie withdrew from the Lausanne meeting there were reports that he was suffering a recurrence of the back injury which disrupted his winter training. But he and his team have denied that he has any such problem.

Ron Roddan, Christie's coach, confirmed that he trained as usual on Wednesday and Thursday. The Olympic champion will approach the meeting with extra confidence following this week's institution of a 100m qualifying round.

'Linford likes more than one race,' Roddan said with a chuckle. 'It puts pressure on people.' The pressure is likely to bear primarily on the diminutive Cason, who made his reputation as a 60m runner, bringing the world record down to 6.41sec last year.

'Cason has got a lot to prove,' Roddan said. 'He hasn't repeated the time he did in trials. I don't think there is any problem. He is another good American sprinter and he is there to be beaten.'

Steve Cram, who abandoned last Wednesday's effort to achieve a World Championship 5,000m qualifying time with a lap to go in a race at Kvall, Sweden, will run in the Dream Mile event tonight in which he set his world record in 1985.

The calf twinge which Cram felt in Sweden was not serious. At least as strong an incentive for him to step off the track was the fact that he seemed unlikely to gain the required mark of 13min 27sec. If Noureddine Morceli gets the pacemaking he requires, Cram's record of 3min 46.32sec will be under threat.

Oslo is the first of the self- styled Golden Four meetings - the others being Zurich (4 August), Berlin (27 August) and Brussels (3 September). Any athlete winning their event at all four meetings will get a share of 20 gold bars worth pounds 170,000.

The series is also being used to pilot blood testing. The new technique, which will be used in conjunction with urine testing, will detect blood doping - which involves storing and then returning blood to boost athletes' levels of red cells - and identify those substances which remain in the bloodstream longer than in urine.

For athletes of a nervous disposition, any Tony Hancock- like fears about having to donate an armful can be laid to rest. Those selected by the International Amateur Athletic Federation's doping delegate will donate no more than 20ml - approximately a thimbleful.