Athletics: Lewis injury deals Britain another blow

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN'S European champion heptathlete Denise Lewis has pulled out of next weekend's European Cup in Paris through injury. She has yet to compete this season because of a calf injury and decided she was not fit enough to travel to France for the event on 19-20 June.

Lewis said: "I really thought I was ready and given how special this event is, I was hoping to compete. However, the last few days have proved that I am not quite ready. It is important that my first competition is a good one."

The Briton is expected to be one of the leading contenders for gold at the World Championships in Seville in August.

Britain's hopes of winning the men's European Cup event for the third successive time were hit last week when the world 110 metres hurdles record- holder Colin Jackson so that he could attend a friend's wedding.

Meanwhile, Bruny Surin ran the fastest 100m of the year but the world record holder Donovan Bailey made a disappointing comeback at an international meeting in Nuremberg, Germany, yesterday. Surin clocked 9.92 seconds to win the final while his fellow Canadian Bailey, back in action after a long injury break, returned a modest 10.51 to finish third in his heat and did not make it to the final.

Surin, who beat Britain's Dwain Chambers and the Ghanaian Erik Nkansah into second and third places, bettered the previous fastest time of 1999, the 9.94 clocked by Frankie Fredericks in March.

"I expected to run a good time, but I didn't think it would be that good," Surin said. The Olympic champion Bailey, who set a world record 9.84 winning gold at Atlanta in 1996, had been nursing an Achilles tendon injury and had not competed since September. "The most important thing was to be in a race again and to finish the race," he said.

Britain's Jonathan Edwards, with 17.43m for the triple jump, and Germany's Michael Stolle, with 5.91m in the pole vault, also set 1999 bests.

Marion Jones suffered a scare in the long jump at her home meeting, the Raleigh Invitational in North Carolina, when she injured her right knee after a 7.01m winning leap on her final attempt. Wearing an ice pack afterwards, she said: "I came down wrong on my knee. I think I scared myself a little bit."

It was Jones's first long jump effort of the year and part of a carefully planned schedule of events allowing her to prepare for the United States championships this month and the World Championships in August at Seville.