Athletics: Christie to race Bailey at 150m

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The Independent Online
Linford Christie is to meet the Olympic 100 metres champion Donovan Bailey in a pounds 50,000 winner-takes-all challenge over 150m in Sheffield on 29 June.

The race will be part of the Securicor Games grand prix meeting and comes less than a month after Bailey picked up around pounds 1m for beating Michael Johnson over 150m in Toronto.

Christie has twice beaten Bailey over the rarely-run distance at Sheffield's Don Valley Stadium. The pair will also receive a hefty appearance fee for Britain's first major domestic meeting of the summer.

Christie, who won over 100m and finished fourth in the 200m in the Rome grand prix on Thursday, clocked what is regarded as the fastest automatic time of 14.97sec when he beat Bailey for the first time in 1994, though Italy's Pietro Mennea did clock a manual 14.8 in 1983. Bailey beat Johnson with a time of 14.99 last weekend after his rival had pulled up injured.

In contrast to Bailey's head-to-head with Johnson, others will be in the line-up at Sheffield, including Scotland's Ian Mackie, tipped to takle over from Christie as Britain's top sprinter, and John Regis, British record holder over 200 and 300m.

Johnson, meanwhile, who was due to face Roger Black in the 400m at the same meeting, has withdrawn from next week's US championships and will not take part in the World Championships in Athens in August. Only the first three in each event at the US championships will qualify for the American team.

Johnson, Olympic champion over 200 and 400m, severely pulled his left quadricep muscle in Sunday's race with Bailey and has been unable to train since. He still plans to have a European season and hopes to run in Paris on 25 June.

Two others to miss out on the US championships are Mike Powell, the world long jump record holder, who has groin and hip injuries, and Dan O'Brien, the decathlon world record holder, who has a stress fracture.

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