Athletics: McKean has medal target in his sights

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The Independent Online
THE first of the six British 'medal shots' identified by Frank Dick, the director of coaching, reached his target on the opening day of the World Indoor Championships here with the speed and directness of a bullet.

Tom McKean, whom Dick believes can bring back a tangible reward from the 800 metres which will help console him after the disappointment of his exit in the Olympic semi-finals last summer, led from start to finish in his heat, winning in 1min 49.09sec. He held off the man likely to be his closest rival, Brazil's Jose-Luis Barbosa, the world silver medallist and former world indoor champion.

McKean was the fastest qualifier for today's semi-finals. 'Barbosa tried to pass me four times, and each time I gently touched the accelerator. 'I felt I controlled the race all the way,' McKean said. Barbosa finished outside the two automatic qualifying places and had to wait until the heats were over before skipping about like a spring lamb in the knowledge that he was a fastest qualifier.

McKean's prospects appear bright, however - and might have been even brighter had his team- mate, Martin Steele, not moved out in the finishing straight, allowing Giuseppe D'Urso, of Italy, another strong contender for gold, to come through in second place. Steele, who finished third in 1:50.71, missed qualifying by three places. Jonathan Edwards, another British medal prospect, reached today's triple jump final with a qualifying distance of 16.58m.

A third of the six athletes highlighted by Dick, John Mayock, reached the final of the 3,000m despite a bumpy ride, winning his heat in 7min 54.13sec; Jo Jennings qualified for the women's high jump with 1.90m, her best this year.

The morning session was overshadowed by reports that Lyudmila Narozhilenko, the Russian 60m hurdler who has broken the world record four times this season, had returned a positive drug test on a first sample.

The test, believed to have been taken at Lievin on 17 February, is being analysed at the laboratory in Paris which confirmed the positive finding on Butch Reynolds, the 400m world record-holder who is now seeking dollars 27m ( pounds 19m) in damages from the International Amateur Athletic Federation. Narozhilenko, clearly the favourite to retain her title here, was on official entry lists earlier in the week but has subsequently dropped out.

The task facing David Strang, the Scotsman based in Arlington, Virginia, is difficult indeed. He needed to make a good impression in these championships in order to retain his legal right to remain in the United States. The US Immigration Service has rejected Strang's petition. He argued that he should be allowed to stay on the grounds that he was due to take part in the 1,500m on the second session of the opening day.

But the urgency of Strang's task paled in comparison to that of Freddie Williams, a teacher of Maths and Science at a school in the suburb of Brampton, whose headmaster had refused to give him the day off to compete in the 800m. Williams, who had a two- hour gap between lessons, turned up so late that he was already on the board as a Did Not Start, knowing that he had to be back at school by 12.30 after his heat at 11.51.

As the other runners lined up, Williams was completing some hasty warming-up exercises; he then won in a time of 1.49.71 before being hurried to a waiting car in the company of two security men. Happily for him, today's semi-finals will not clash with his teaching duties.

Meanwhile, the agents' body which has been threatening to co- ordinate a boycott of this summer's world championships unless direct prize-money was made available there appeared to have softened their stance last night.

Following a meeting of the leading agents, the International Association of Athletes Representative announced that it wished to 'pursue constructive dialogue' with the IAAF with a view to advancing the concept of 'revenue sharing.' Tom Jennings, the agents' secretary who voiced the possibility of a boycott, has resigned because of 'business interests' and been replaced by Don Quarrie, the 1976 200m Olympic champion.

WORLD INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS (Toronto, Selected results): MEN: 60m Semi-finals (qualifiers for final): Heat 1: 1 B Surin (Can) 6.50sec; 2 Y Isasi (Cuba) 6.59; 3 J John (GB) 6.60; 4 D Mitchell (US) 6.61. Heat 2: 1 F Fredericks (Nam) 6.55; 2 T Mansoor (Qatar) 6.55; 3 J Drummond (US) 6.62; 4 A Simon (Cuba) 6.65. 800m (qualifiers for semi-finals): 1 T McKean (GB) 1:49.09; 2 L Bernaert (Bel) 1:49.25; 3 J-L Barbosa (Bra) 1:49.34; 4 C Nkazamyampi (Burundi) 1:49.52; 5 N Motchebon (Ger) 1:49.52; 6 Jin-Li Lee (S Kor) 1:49.60; 7 F Williams (Can) 1:49.71; 8 J Armour (US) 1:49.99; 9 P Squella (Ch) 1:50.11; 10 K Osei (Gh) 1:50.14; 11 M Thee (Bot) 1:50.50; 12 G D'Urso (It) 1:50.52. Shot (qualifiers for final): 1 M Stulce (US) 20.56m; 2 A Bagach (Ukr) 20.21; 3 A Klimenko (Ukr) 19.74; 4 S Smirnov (Rus) 19.64; 5 J Doehring (US) 19.56; 6 P D Soglio (It) 19.49; 7 L Zerbini (It) 19.32; 8 O-S Buder (Ger) 19.12; 9 P Edwards (GB) 18.23; 10 M Koistinen (Fin) 18.20; 11 V Bulat (Bela) 18.18; 12 G Guset (Rom) 18.09. Triple Jump (qualifiers for final): 1 B Wellman (Berm) 17.06; 2 V Melikhov (Rus) 17.00; 3 Y Quesada (Cuba) 16.91; 4 M Bruziks (Lat) 16.90; 5 Z Sixin (China) 16.67; 6 P Grigorian (Arm) 16.58; 7 J Edwards (GB) 16.58; 8 P Camara (Fr) 16.56; 9 N Raev (Bul) 16.55; 10 T Rabenala (Madag) 16.47; 11 G Johnson (US) 16.44; 12 T Scott (US) 16.34.

WOMEN: 60m Semi-finals (qualifiers for final): Heat 1: 1 G Devers (US) 7.06; 2 J Tarnapolskaya (Ukr) 7.21; 3 L Allen (Cuba) 7.25; 4 F Ziga (Iv Coast) 7.26; 5 N Fiere-Cooman (Neth) 7.28. Did not qualify: 8 M Richardson (GB) 7.41. Heat 2: 1 I Privalova (Rus) 7.08; 2 T Neighbors (US) 7.26; 3 P Girard (Fr) 7.31; Did not qualify: 5 B Kinch (GB) 7.34. 3km Walk Semi-finals (first three and four fastest losers to final): Heat 1: 1 I Salvador (It) 12min 20.24sec; 2 E Arshintseva (Rus) 12:20.42; 3 D Lawrence (US) 12:20.79. Heat 2: 1 E Nikolaeva (Rus) 12:15.43; 2 K Junna-Saxby (Aus) 12:16.90; 3 B Anders (Ger) 12:22.57. Fastest losers: M Svensson (Swe) 12:21.53; A Sidoti (It) 12:26.12; S Essayah (Fin) 12:27.38; S Buksniene (Lith) 12:30.56. Did not qualify: J Drake (GB) 13:12.01. High jump (qualifiers for final): 1 I Quintero (Cuba) 1.92m; 2 N Zilinskiene (Lith) 1.90; 3 I Babakova (Ukr) 1.90; 4 S Kostadinova (Bul) 1.90; 5 A Bradburn (US) 1.90; 6 E Zhdanova (Rus) 1.90; 7 S Costa (Cuba) 1.90; 8 T Shevchik (Bel) 1.90; 9 G Astafei (Rom) 1.90; 10 H Henkel (Ger) 1.90; 11 M Goldkamp (Ger) 1.90; 12 A Inverarity (Aus) 1.90; 13 J Jennings (GB) 1.90; 14 I Gliznutca (Mol) 1.90. Did not qualify: 23 D Marti (GB) 1.79.