Athletics: Christie starts the bidding: World champions bear down as Russians hit Glasgow

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TODAY'S indoor international match against Russia in Glasgow will be preceded by a minute's silence in memory of Cliff Temple, the coach and writer who died earlier this month.

The Russians will present a huge challenge to Britain's athletes in what is the first international of a hectic season. The challenge represented by the Temple affair is no less demanding for the British Athletic Federation.

With Professor Peter Radford officially installed as executive chairman, the Federation will begin its enquiry next week into the allegations that Andy Norman, the BAF promotions officer, contributed to Temple's death by spreading false rumours that he had molested female athletes he had coached.

Norman, who would normally have been in Glasgow, is on a holiday which is likely to last as long as it takes for the Federation to decide, according to its spokesman, whether his behaviour has been 'becoming' of a BAF officer.

Meanwhile, the man who first suggested the tribute to Temple, Linford Christie, is preparing to face his friend and training partner Colin Jackson over 60 metres for the first time in competition.

The world 110m hurdles champion, whose naturally accomplished start has served as an inspiration and something of a model to Christie in recent years, should have the edge in the first 30 metres. The race will be decided by how much ground the world and Olympic 100m champion makes up in the second half.

One of the more intriguing contests is the triple jump, where two strong Russians - Denis Kapustin and Vasiliy Sokov - face Britain's world bronze medallist, Jonathan Edwards. 'It will be strange to think they will be looking up to me,' Edwards said. That they undoubtedly will be is a measure of the progress he has made in the last four years.

So strong are the Russian women, in fact, that Frank Dick, Britain's director of coaching, believes that a rest-of-the-world team would have difficulty in matching them. There is little likelihood of Britain's women doing that, but the fixture gives the opportunity to athletes such as Michelle Griffith, the UK triple jump record holder, and Jackie Agyepong, the leading high hurdler, to measure the distance between themselves and the world's best.

Griffith faces Anna Biryukova and Yolanda Chen, respectively first and second in the all-time lists, while Agyepong, who is seeking to get under 13 seconds at 100m hurdles this season, will have an ideal sharpening exercise over 60m hurdles against Marina Azyabina, the world silver medallist.