Athletics: Christie to miss Burrell clash

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The Independent Online
LINFORD CHRISTIE'S duel with the new 100 metres world record holder, Leroy Burrell, has been delayed at least until the European Championships in August following the Briton's withdrawal from the Goodwill Games at the month's end.

Christie will visit his specialist, Dr Hans Muller Wolfhardt, in Munich today after suffering a slight hamstring tear during his defeat by Jon Drummond at Crystal Palace on Friday night. The Olympic champion has cancelled his next four planned runs - at Nice tonight, Gateshead on Wednesday, Oslo on Friday and a week hence in St Petersburg, where he was due to race Burrell and the former world record holder, Carl Lewis, in a one-off race on 25 July.

According to his agent, Sue Barrett, Christie is 'pretty hopeful' about defending his European title in Helsinki. The 34-year-old's prospects will be clearer after today. If he does recover in time, he is most likely to catch up with Burrell at the Zurich Grand Prix on 17 August.

Christie's training partner, Colin Jackson, who scratched from Friday night's meeting with an adductor-muscle strain, has also pulled out of tonight's Nice meeting. But the world 110m hurdles champion says he will be back in time for St Petersburg.

Meanwhile, Britain's third world champion, Sally Gunnell, is still smarting from being given a strong warning by the International Amateur Athletic Federation for failing to compete at last Tuesday's meeting in Stockholm. Christie and John Regis received the same rebuke after a complaint from the Stockholm promoter, Rajne Soderberg.

Gunnell claims Soderberg tried to 'blackmail' her into running after she phoned him about her back injury. The British Athletic Federation, also unhappy, agreed at a management board meeting on Saturday to investigate. It hopes to clarify details with its former promotions officer, Andy Norman, whom Soderberg says arranged for the trio to compete.