Athletics: Christie preferring training to straining: Injury reports dismissed

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The Independent Online
LINFORD CHRISTIE'S coach, Ron Roddan, yesterday dismissed reports that the Olympic champion's withdrawal from tonight's Lausanne Grand Prix was due to a recurrence of the back injury which disrupted his winter training. 'There's nothing wrong with his back,' Roddan said. 'He's running in Oslo on Saturday.'

Christie was expected to run in one of two 100-metre races being arranged at the Stadium de la Pontaise - with Carl Lewis running in the other. Pierre-Andre Pasche, an official at the meeting, said he was told Christie had a 'little problem with his back'.

Perhaps Christie's taxing exertions at the weekend inclined him against taking part. In Edinburgh on Friday, in the match against the United States, he had to work hard to catch Calvin Smith, recording a victory in 10.06sec, his fastest time in Britain. He also ran the 200m and the sprint relay, as well as competing in the British League on Saturday.

'I asked Linford about Lausanne at the weekend,' Roddan said. 'I said 'Are you going?' He said 'No'. You have to remember that Linford has missed three blocks of two weeks' training this year. We have got to keep training going. He will train as usual on Wednesday.'

Sue Barrett, who looks after Christie's business interests, also denied there was a worry and confirmed he would face the US champion, Andre Cason, on Saturday.

Lewis, who returns home on Thursday, will earn pounds 66,000 for racing the 100m - against Cason - and the 200m - against Michael Johnson.

For David Grindley, who is seeking to rehearse the demands he will face in the World Championships, this race corresponds to the semi-final in a three-race series. His 'heat' in Edinburgh on Friday produced a characteristically powerful performance which saw him maintain a narrow lead over the American Derek Mills, a 44.62 runner.

Tonight's semi-final, as it were, matches him against Samson Kitur, Kenya's Olympic bronze medallist, and two other leading Americans, Andrew Valmon and the world champion, Antonio Pettigrew. Both have run faster than Grindley's best of 44.47; neither finished in the top three qualifying positions at this year's US trials.

Grindley's 'final' occurs on Saturday in Oslo, where he meets the US champion, Johnson, and the world record holder, Butch Reynolds. He needs something good tonight to prepare him for that experience.