Athletics: Christie and Lewis set to take on the best of the rest: Olympic champion keeps his counsel on second 100 metres showdown that could be even more lucrative than the first

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The Independent Online
LINFORD CHRISTIE yesterday confirmed that he will race Carl Lewis at tonight's Zurich grand prix in a 100 metres that serves as a dress rehearsal for the world championship final on 15 August.

After flying into Zurich last night, Christie, continuing the silent approach which characterised his build- up to last Friday's race with Lewis at Gateshead, refused to talk about the sequel at the Weltklasse meeting.

Instead, it was down to his racing manager Andy Norman to reveal that the 33-year-old is ready to tackle the strongest 100m field seen anywhere in the world this year.

The line-up also comprises the United States' world No 1 Andre Cason, the Olympic silver medallist Frankie Fredericks, the former world record-holder Leroy Burrell and Jon Drummond, who ran Lewis into third place at Gateshead.

Christie stands a chance of earning even more than the pounds 100,000 he received for Gateshead. Though he is believed to be only on a starting fee of pounds 60,000, there is another pounds 42,000 bonus, including an pounds 8,000 gold ingot, for anyone who can break Lewis's world record of 9.86sec.

If Christie wins, he will be halfway towards winning the 20kg of solid gold worth pounds 135,000 on offer for any athlete who wins at each of the 'golden four' grand prix meets in Oslo, Zurich, Brussels and Berlin.

A budget of dollars 5.3m ( pounds 3.7m) has produced a night of competition in which each event features at least eight of the world's top 10. The only British medal contender absent will be Yvonne Murray, who has pulled out of the 3,000m with a sore throat.

Colin Jackson, fit again after a foot injury kept him out of the Cologne Grand Prix on Sunday, will be protecting his season's unbeaten record against the other seven fastest men in the world this year.

Wigan's David Grindley, still not fully fit after pulling out of the Gateshead meeting with a head cold, faces the top three at the US 400m trials, Michael Johnson, Butch Reynolds and Quincy Watts, while Curtis Robb tackles an 800m field that includes the Olympic champion William Tanui.

Sally Gunnell will gain further confidence in her ability to add a world title to the Olympic 400m hurdles title if she can beat Margarita Ponomaryova of Russia.

Kenya's Yobes Ondieki will be seeking to add the 5,000m world record to the 10,000m mark he set in Oslo just over three weeks ago.

Steve Backley, who pulled out of last Friday's javelin event at Gateshead after straining an adductor muscle during his warm-up, indicated yesterday that he will not be pulling out of the world championship team. The deadline falls today.