Athletics: Burrell seeking a boost

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LEROY BURRELL emerges from a period of inactivity to compete in the invitation meeting at Gateshead tonight. Burrell and his Santa Monica team-mate, Carl Lewis, are among a field of Olympic hopefuls using the event as a sharpening exercise for Barcelona.

While Linford Christie and the other leading protagonists for the 100 metres in Barcelona have been competing on the international circuit, Burrell, the 25-year-old former world record holder has decided to train at home because the jet-setting life makes him weary.

He believes the policy of race starvation has worked. 'I haven't posted a great time yet, but I am in better shape now than this time last year.' This time last year, Christie will not need reminding, Burrell clocked 9.88sec in the World Championship final, only beaten by Lewis's world record 9.86.

Burrell, who will run the 200 metres in Gateshead, has only one more 100m planned before Barcelona, in Sestriere, Italy, next week. Lewis, meanwhile, will compete in his first long jump in Britain today. Free of the distraction of the 100m, 200m or relay, Lewis is confident of a strong performance in Barcelona.

Liz McColgan is seeking solace in tonight's meeting when she contests the 1500 metres. McColgan's self-belief was dented by her fourth place over 3,000m in an international meeting in Nice on Wednesday night.