Athletics: Lewis in form for Stuttgart

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The Independent Online
CARL LEWIS, who missed last year's Olympic 100 metres event after failing to qualify from the United States trials, has not made the same mistake twice, writes Mike Rowbottom.

The world record holder ensured his presence at this summer's World Championships in Stuttgart by finishing in the top three at this year's trials in Eugene, Oregon, recording a wind-assisted time of 9.90sec despite a poor start.

Andre Cason, the world record holder over 60m, won the race in 9.85, a time also clocked by the Olympic bronze medallist, Dennis Mitchell. Cason, who tore his calf muscle at last year's trials, has clearly added finishing power to his starting speed. His time would have replaced Lewis's world record of 9.86 had it not been for a wind of 4.8m per second, more than double the allowed limit of 2.0m per second.

On the day before the final he twice ran a wind-assisted 9.79; only Lewis, with a wind-assisted 9.78, has covered the distance quicker.

Gail Devers, the Olympic 100m champion, also qualified for Stuttgart in a winning time of 10.82, ahead of her rival, Gwen Torrence, who won the 200m in Barcelona.

Greg Foster, who has won gold at 110m hurdles in all three World Championships since 1983, will not defend his title. The 34-year-old champion hit four consecutive hurdles and stopped at the eighth in his semi-final. Renaldo Nehemiah, also 34 and a former world record holder, crashed out too.

Meanwhile, Roger Black has pulled out of Britain's 4 x 400m relay squad for the European Cup in Rome on 26 to 27 June. Black, 27, who had surgery on his hip last autumn, has been undergoing blood tests following his failure to reach the 200m final at last weekend's British Championships.

Black's replacement for Rome will be named after this weekend's Pearl Assurance Games in Belfast, where Steve Smith and Dalton Grant will meet to decide who gets the British high jump place in the European Cup. John Regis will attempt to break the world 300m record. The mile race features Rob Denmark, Steve Cram - still the world record holder.