Athletics / European Championships: Regis is latest to join list of wounded

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BRITAIN'S representation of sprinters was reduced by one more yesterday as John Regis, favourite to retain his 200 metres title, pulled out of the Championships with an inflamed Achilles tendon, writes Mike Rowbottom.

It was another heavy blow for a team still coming to terms with the announcement that Solomon Wariso, also due to run the 200m, had been withdrawn following a positive test for ephedrine.

Speaking from his home in Sidcup, Regis said the injury flared up after he ran 20.01sec in last Tuesday's Monte Carlo Grand Prix. 'I haven't been able to train since,' he said. 'I am devastated. I am an athlete about championships - I want to be known as a championship runner.'

He still hopes to be fit for the Commonwealth Games at the end of this month, and perhaps to return in time for the Zurich Grand Prix next Wednesday.

'Obviously my Commonwealth Games chances have gone down by a percentage, but I'm generally in good shape and I've been told that it should only take another five days of treatment.'

Whether the physiotherapist's estimate proves to be correct remains to be seen. In the meantime Britain's only remaining 200m representative, Philip Goedluck, appears to need all the good luck he can get.

Peter Radford, the executive chairman of the British Athletic Federation, yesterday defended the decision not to consider an appeal should Wariso's second sample, which is being tested next week, also prove positive.

Linford Christie, Britain's team captain, argued into the early hours before the announcement that Wariso should be allowed to compete in the intervening time and that an appeal should be lodged with the International Amateur Athletic Association.

Radford, formerly chairman of the Sports Council's Drug Advisory Group, questioned what an appeal would be against. 'We have to understand the difficulty the IAAF would be in if they accepted the explanation from any athlete, 'It is in my urine, but I didn't mean to take it'.'

He added that he had spoken to the British athlete who gave Wariso the herbal remedy containing the banned stimulant, and ruled out further positive tests deriving from it. 'I am satisfied nobody else is exposed to this,' he said.