Athletics: Christie gives Norman his full support

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The Independent Online
THE realpolitik of British athletics was spelt out by Linford Christie yesterday as he announced a racing programme which is by his own calculations the heaviest he has ever undertaken, writes Mike Rowbottom.

Speaking the day after Andy Norman was given official permission to act for British athletes competing overseas, Christie underlined his personal support for the man who was sacked as the British Athletic Federation's promotions officer last month for misconduct.

'You don't throw your blueprint away,' he said at a conference to mark his latest sponsorship deal, promoting the British banana industry. 'Andy has picked and chosen our meetings successfully, and I think all the athletes he has worked for in the past will stay with him. Right now, where else is there to go?'

The Federation, presumably, would reply that Ian Stewart, Norman's former assistant who has now stepped up to head the promotions department, was the obvious port of call. 'I don't know him as well as Andy,' Christie said. Christie's forthcoming programme encompasses more than 20 venues, including the Goodwill Games, European Championships and Commonwealth Games. But he will only be doing the 100 metres at the latter two championship events. 'I've got to cut down,' he said. 'I am 34.'