Athletics: Burrell profits but Christie hits the wall: Berlin Grand Prix

Click to follow
The Independent Online
BERLIN served as reality checkpoint for two of Britain's world champions last night. Having come this far in a marathon of a season, Linford Christie and Colin Jackson hit the Wall as the United States recovered a little of their lost pride in individual sprinting events.

Christie's sluggish 100 metres start on a chill and rainy evening left him with too much to do to catch Leroy Burrell, the only man to have beaten him previously this year. The Briton finished a weary third in 10.13, the same time as the second-placed American, Jon Drummond, with Burrell recording 10.12.

Jackson's unbeaten record this season - 16 victories before last night - disappeared along with his hope that he might see out the year in times under 13 seconds. The weather gave him no chance of fulfilling that, but he looked sluggish in finishing third in 13.35sec behind Jack Pierce, of the United States, who took bronze in Stuttgart behind the two Britons, Jackson and Tony Jarrett. In between was Jackson's training partner, Mark McKoy, the Olympic champion, who recovered in the second half of the race after Jackson, who appeared to clip the eighth hurdle, had clawed back his characteristically swift start.

The conditions made it more of a night for distance runners, and Noureddine Morceli, Algeria's double world 1,500m champion, came closer than he has ever done before to Steve Cram's eight-year-old mile world record of 3min 46.32sec, finishing in 3:46.78. Only Said Aouita has come closer without success, with a run of 3:46.76 in 1987 that still stands as the African record.

Sonia O'Sullivan, of Ireland, the world 1,500m silver medallist, scored a runaway victory in the 5,000m. Her time of 14min 45.92sec eclipsed Zola Budd's British record of 14.48.07sec as the third fastest ever behind Ingrid Kristiansen's seven-year-old world record of 14.37.33.

Now that the 5,000m has replaced the 3,000m in the world championship schedule, O'Sullivan - who was beaten into fourth place in the Stuttgart 3,000m final by three Chinese runners - has a clear target to aim for in an event which she has only run seriously once before.

By the time the world 400m champion, Michael Johnson, took to the track, the wind had dropped and the rain abated, but his winning time of 43.94sec, ahead of his compatriots Butch Reynolds and Quincy Watts, was still outstanding, bringing back memories of his startling 200m run in 19.85sec on a typically raw Edinburgh night three years ago.

Reynolds, who finished second in 44.68, was entitled to run with a spring in his step after winning a new court judgement in his campaign to collect the dollars 27m ( pounds 18m) awarded to him in damages against the International Amateur Athletic Federation following his two-year drugs ban. Having met with resistance from the IAAF itself - the president, Primo Nebiolo, said earlier this year that Reynolds would get the money 'never, never, he can live 200 years' - the world record holder is attempting to sequester funds from American-based IAAF sponsors. The latest ruling demands that Mobil pay dollars 691,667 of money earmarked for the IAAF to a court in East Virginia, which will hold the money for Reynolds pending any appeal.

The IAAF response last night was not promising for Reynolds, however. A spokesman said: 'Our lawyers are still trying to set the original judgement aside through the US courts and do not expect to settle the matter until at least the end of the year.'

Curtis Robb, disappointed with his fourth place in the world championship 800m final, looked like making amends to himself as he entered the final straight with two metres' lead. But then Johnny Gray, who had challenged Robb to a fight in Stuttgart after accusing him of elbowing him out of the semi-final, drew past slowly, and two Kenyans, Billy Konchellah and Nixon Kiprotich came through on either side, with Konchellah winning in 1min 44.22sec. Robb finished in 1.44.96. Fourth again.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee, the world heptathlon champion who will compete against Sally Gunnell over 400m hurdles in tomorrow's McDonald's Games in Sheffield, defeated another world champion, Heike Drechsler, in the long jump, by 7.08m to 7.07.

Gunnell and all of Britain's other medallists in Stuttgart, have been rewarded with extra money to appear in tomorrow's McDonald's Games at Sheffield - traditionally a 'welcome home' meeting after major championships.

Andy Norman, the British Athletic Federation promotions officer said: 'Everyone who won a medal in Stuttgart will be paid extra for Sunday but those who didn't perform over there will get considerably less.

It is understood that Gunnell, who has stepped back from her position of threatening not to compete at Sheffield unless she was paid the same ac Christie, has had her fee increased from pounds 15,000 to pounds 20,000 - less than Christie will receive.

Norman's only pointed comment about the situation was: 'I spoke to her coach Bruce Longden and told him what people got paid on the Continent. He had a rude awakening.'

Comments