ATHLETICS: British team further depleted

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Britain's Europa Cup team suffered another late withdrawal yesterday when Fred Salle, a surprise World Cup winner in the long jump at Crystal Palace last year, reported a leg injury. He is replaced by a reserve, John Munroe.

On Wednesday Colin Jackson pulled out of the team with tonsillitis and Yvonne Murray, stand-in women's captain for the injured Sally Gunnell, cried off with knee trouble.

Malcolm Arnold, Britain's chief coach, is waiting until later today to hear whether Linford Christie, who is attending his mother's funeral, will feel able to try to extend a Cup record of seven individual wins in the 100 and 200 metres.

Darren Braithwaite, a relay squad member, is standing by as reserve for both events. "Darren has shown he is a very good sprinter in the making and I would have no worries about putting him in," Arnold said.

There was one scrap of good news for the chief coach, however, as he heard that Tony Jarrett, who is unable to deputise for Jackson in the hurdles because of a recurrence of a toe injury, will still be able to run the 4x100m relay.

The women's captaincy now goes to one of the longest serving team members, the 30-year-old sprinter Paula Thomas, who had a resurgence of form last year and won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games.

"It's a thrill for me to be taking over from Sally and I'll be doing my best," Thomas said.

Arnold refuses to be downcast about the withdrawals from the team. "They make things difficult and it's going to be a tough competition for us," he said. "But morale is still high in the team. When one door closes, another one tends to open."

Christopher Winner resigned yesterday as director of media and public relations for the International Amateur Athletic Federation.

Winner, who held the post for 15 months, said he was leaving the IAAF to take up a reporting job on a daily newspaper in Washington, DC.

"This has been in the works for a long time," he said. He added that it had been a challenge trying to work for the IAAF president, Primo Nebiolo.

"Primo Nebiolo is a remarkable man, but over time I came to realise I was not the appropriate person to represent him," Winner said. No replacement has yet been named.