Athletics: British trio set to run at Palace

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The Independent Online
THE THREAT to ban Linford Christie, Sally Gunnell and John Regis from tomorrow's TSB Games following their non-appearance at Tuesday's Stockholm Grand Prix appeared to have receded last night.

The International Amateur Athletic Federation has given no official response to the complaint of the Stockholm promoter, Rajne Soderberg, who called for a seven- day ban in accordance with the IAAF's code of conduct.

He claims the trio - whose international racing programme is arranged by Andy Norman, the sacked BAF promotions officer, had let spectators down by withdrawing at short notice. Tony Ward, the spokesman for the British Athletic Federation, maintained: 'Unless we receive any information to the contrary, they will all be competing.'

The BAF insisted that Christie never confirmed that he would compete, while Gunnell and Regis had medical evidence of minor injuries, to back and knee respectively.

The IAAF is awaiting the report of its director of competitions, Sandro Giovannelli, who has talked to Soderberg in Stockholm.

Soderberg cited the IAAF code of conduct for meetings, which states: 'If an athlete withdraws from a competition due to illness or injury, then, in the interest of the athlete's health and of ensuring that the injury has fully healed, the athlete shall be subject to a compulsory recuperation period of seven days from the date of that competition.'

However, the impact of that requirement is diminished by the preface to the code, which states: 'Since these regulations are not exhaustive it is intended that they be interpreted according to their spirit rather than to their strict meaning.'

Ian Stewart, who heads the BAF promotions department which is putting on the TSB Games, was able to announce some good and some bad news yesterday. Noureddine Morceli, Algeria's world 1500 metres record holder, will run, as will Andre Cason, the world 100m silver medallist. But Jan Zelezny, the world and Olympic javelin champion from the Czech Republic, has pulled out with a minor injury.