Athletics: Christie dominates Scotland yards: An imperious Olympic champion just misses world record for an imperial measure

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The Independent Online
IT HAS been a trying week for Linford Christie - and yesterday, after failing to match Leroy Burrell's midweek world record with one of his own, he let his feelings show. Two days after seeing Burrell reduce the 100 metres mark to 9.85sec, Christie duly won at the TSB Challenge in Edinburgh over the rarely-run distance of 100 yards. But his time of 9.30sec fell short of the world record of 9.21sec set by Charlie Greene of the United States in 1967.

Christie did beat the British record of 9.4sec, set when Christie was six weeks old by the present executive chairman of the British Athletic Federation, Peter Radford, who watched approvingly from the stand.

That seemed of little comfort to Christie afterwards, however, as he became animated over what he saw as growing pressure on him to race Burrell at next week's TSB Games in London. Criticisms of him by Burrell's training partner Carl Lewis also drew a withering scorn.

There was a world record on the night, but it fell to Sonia O'Sullivan, who ran 5min 25.36sec in the 2,000m to surpass Maricica Puica's eight-year-old mark of 5:28.69. She was chased all the way home by Yvonne Murray, who was second in 5:26.93. 'Perhaps people will pull down a few Irish football team posters and put mine back up now,' O'Sullivan joked afterwards. It is not worth banking on that. But her prospects at this year's European Championships look a lot more certain.

Colin Jackson, Christie's training partner, returned after a month's absence with hamstring injury to win the 110m hurdles in an All Comers' record of 13.05sec. Curtis Robb's return after a 10-month absence with injury in the 800m was less successful as he trailed in well down the field.

Monday night's defeat in Linz by Davidson Ezinhwa was a matter of irritation for Christie. Wednesday night's achievement by Burrell, who won in 10.12sec at a meeting in Lille last night, presented a more serious challenge to his morale - as did the subsequent comments by Burrell's Santa Monica team-mate Lewis that he has not regarded Christie as the world's No 1 for the last two years despite the Briton's Olympic and world title wins.

While he plans to meet Burrell at the Goodwill Games on 25 July, Christie is gearing his season towards the month beyond that, when he intends to retain his Commonwealth and European titles. 'I will decide when I am ready to meet Burrell,' he said, his eyes flashing with anger. 'I am the man. The Santa Monica team are nobodies in America and they have to come to Europe to be somebodies. Leroy ran a great race, but at the end of the day, Santa Monica are chasing money, and I am after medals.'

The views of the man who used to have his respect - now 'Mr Empty Vessel Lewis' - were also given short shrift. 'If I've been beating Lewis for two years and I'm not the best, then he's further down the line.'

John Regis, narrowly beaten by the world champion Frankie Fredericks in midweek, had to settle for second again in the 200m, where America's Jeff Williams won in 20.41.

Jackie Agyepong, who lowered her personal best in the 100m hurdles to 12.93sec in Lausanne on Wednesday, equalled it in finishing second to America's Dawn Bowles. Du'Aine Ladejo won the 400m in a personal best of 45.15sec. The main track racing programme began inauspiciously when Peter Crampton, the former European junior 400m champion who has made great strides since switching to the 400m hurdles this year, strode unhappily off the track after bruising his Achilles tendon while warming up.

Gary Cadogan, Crampton's main domestic rival in the post-Akabusi era, profited in his absence to win in 49.21sec, a personal best by 0.4sec. Cadogan, who spent the winter training with John Regis and Tony Jarrett in California, also profited from mistakes by the American who made the early running, Eric Thomas.

Cadogan, who switched to hurdles from the 400m flat a year earlier than Crampton, gained an early reputation as a hurdle-smasher. But in the closing stages he hurdled cleanly and it was Thomas who hammered the barriers.

(Photograph omitted)

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