For Christie's friend and room- mate, Colin Jackson, the news was worse. He flew back home shortly before the meeting began with what was reported as a back injury. 'It sounds like one which afflicted him in Tokyo,' his coach, Malcolm Arnold, said after being telephoned with the news.
If that fear proves to be justified, it would be a sickening blow for the man who only last week lowered his European record to 12.97sec. His injury at the Tokyo world championships two years ago, which occurred in warm-up 40 minutes before the final, prevented him taking any further part and required nine pain-killing injections.
Everything seemed to be going right for Jackson, who has proved himself once again this year as the best high hurdler in the world, being unbeaten in 12 meetings. But there was a warning sign last Sunday, when he dropped out of the Cologne meeting with a minor foot injury. And now this.
The man who beat Britain's Olympic champion over 100m was not the world record-holder Carl Lewis, nor the US champion Andrew Cason, but Leroy Burrell, the former world record-holder who finished outside the top three in the US trials. 'This was my world championships,' Burrell said. 'I had to win this one.' He had his wish on a wet and muggy night that was not ideal for sprinters, crossing the line first in 10.02sec, one hundredth of a second ahead of Christie, who appeared to have done enough after overhauling Cason with 30 metres to go. Lewis was fourth, behind Jon Drummond, in 10.07.
'I thought I had won it,' Christie said. 'I was watching Drummond and Cason. But I'm still very happy. It was my fastest time of the year.
'I've listened to other people saying things, but I've just been staying quiet and getting myself together. I'm running a lot more consistently than last year, I'm feeling a lot stronger. Now I'm going to go away and train. It looks right for Stuttgart.'
It looks right, too, for Britain's other Olympic champion, Sally Gunnell, who won the 400m hurdles in 53.52sec, beating her own fastest time in the world this year. As the field entered the home straight, the former world record holder Margarita Ponomaryova of Russia, racing against Gunnell for the first time this season, held a metre lead. But this is the area in a race where Gunnell prospers most tellingly. By the next flight of hurdles, she was a metre ahead and she ended up five clear. Who is left to challenge her now?
David Grindley, whose 400m running in the last few weeks has been disrupted by a knee injury and a heavy cold, gave himself ideal encouragement in an event, like all the others in a meeting with a dollars 5.3m budget - the richest in the Grand Prix - that was stacked with talent.
The 20-year-old from Wigan started and finished strongly to earn second place behind the US champion Michael Johnson in 44.50sec, just three- hundredths of a second outside his British record. At the line, Grindley looked across with satisfaction, as well he might. Johnson had won, in 44.22, but the Briton had beaten two Olympic champions in Steve Lewis and Quincy Watts, and the world record- holder, Butch Reynolds.
Grindley, whose 400m running in the last few weeks has been disrupted by a knee injury and a heavy cold, gave himself ideal encouragement by finishing second behind the US champion Michael Johnson in 44.50sec, just outside his British record of 44.47.
In the 5,000m, Kenya's Yobes Ondieki, who became the first man to break 27 minutes for the 10,000m last month, was frustrated in his ambitions to emulate his compatriot Henry Rono in holding 10,000m and 5,000m world records simultaneously. Khalid Skah, of Morocco, scourged of the Kenyans, outsprinted Ondieki and Richard Chelimo, whom he defeated so controversially in the Olympic final, to win in 13min 04.68sec. Said Aouita's record of 12:58.39 remains; Skah's prospects in the 10,000m at Stuttgart, where Ondieki is not running, remain excellent.
Results, Sporting Digest, page 33
(Photograph omitted)Reuse content