Athletics: Cram brightens gloomy picture: Selectors ponder a lengthening injury list ahead of the World Championships

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN'S World Championship selectors experienced the full range of emotions yesterday as news bad, good and worrying filtered through to them with the deadline for entries looming tomorrow.

First Eamonn Martin, who has not run on the track since pulling out of the European Cup final in June, withdrew from the 10,000 metres.

Steve Cram, who had withdrawn at short notice from his previous two scheduled races at Crystal Palace and Gateshead, then brightened the atmosphere by achieving the 1500 metres qualifying time he needed at his last opportunity in last night's Cologne grand prix.

But the clouds arrived again with the news that Colin Jackson, who along with Christie and Sally Gunnell has looked one of Britain's best prospects for a gold medal, had withdrawn from his 110m hurdles event in Cologne with a foot injury which he had first felt before Friday's meeting in Gateshead. 'I'm hoping the problem will clear up soon,' he said.

In the meantime, Linford Christie, pounds 100,000 richer after Friday night's 100m victory over Carl Lewis, is still hedging his bets over a second meeting with the American world champion at the Zurich Grand Prix on Wednesday. 'I will see how I feel on Tuesday and make a decision then,' Christie said in Cologne last night after he had beaten a moderate 200m field in 20.39sec. 'I'm pretty tired at the moment.'

However, Rex Brugger, the Zurich promoter, was adamant: 'I can confirm they are due to meet again in the 100m on Wednesday.' The rumour is that that could be worth a further pounds 80,000 to each man.

Christie had changed his mind about running the 100m in Cologne against the US champion, Andre Cason, who won in 10.11sec.

Cram, seeking a time of 3min 36.50sec to make the team, finished only fifth, but clocked 3min 35.63sec despite feeling his Achilles tendon flare up with a lap to go and being balked in the final straight.

There was little joy for Kevin McKay, who has the qualifying time but is trying to prove his fitness after illness. He was 13th. Martin thus joins Roger Black, who announced on Saturday that he has a virus, on the list of late deletions from the squad.

His 4 x 400m place is taken by the 17-year-old Guy Bullock, who followed in the footsteps of Black and his training partner at Wigan, David Grindley, on Saturday by winning the European junior 400m title in San Sebastian.

The names of Martin and Black are almost certain to be joined by that of Steve Backley this week following the adductor muscle strain which he suffered on Friday in only his second javelin competition since winning the Olympic bronze medal.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 27