Athletics: Greene to run at Crystal Palace

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MAURICE GREENE, the 100 metres world record holder, will race over that distance at the CGU British Grand Prix on 7 August.

Fast Track, the commercial arm of UK Athletics, announced yesterday that the American - who lowered the world mark to 9.79sec last month - would be one of the major attractions at Crystal Palace.

Last month Alan Pascoe, head of Fast Track, played down suggestions that Greene would be coming to London, given that his asking price was said to be $100,000 (pounds 65,000). "That's an awful lot of money for not a very long time," Pascoe joked.

Presumably Greene has not been persuaded to run twice as slowly in order to give value for money to the paying spectators and the BBC. Yesterday Ian Stewart, head of the UK Athletics promotions unit, denied that such a sum had been offered to Greene. "We are not paying him anywhere near that sort of money," Stewart said. "We have been discussing things with Maurice and his handlers for several weeks and I am pleased he has decided to confirm his participation."

Greene's team-mate Ato Boldon, the world 200m champion, has not been signed up, but others, including US high hurdler Larry Wade, who heads this year's rankings with 13.01, have.

The organisers of the Crystal Palace meeting have already contracted the world 5,000m and 10,000m record-holder, Haile Gebrselassie, who will run the two miles, the women's world 100m champion Marion Jones and Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj, who broke the world mile record in Rome earlier this month.

El Guerrouj withdrew from tomorrow's International Amateur Athletics Federation Golden League meeting in Paris, but his coach has said that he will be fit to run on 7 August.

A Fast Track spokesman, Jon Ridgeon, said the meeting's organisers were going for broke in an effort to improve the standards of Britain's flagship meeting, which last season finished down in 17th place in the IAAF's league table. "We want to rival the Golden League meetings," Ridgeon said. "None of this would have been possible without the five-year sponsorship deal we signed recently with CGU, or the three-year deal we have with the BBC."