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Athletics: Money boost for middle men

GRAND PRIX circuit details were announced yesterday by the International Amateur Athletic Federation with the designated men's events heavily favouring the middle distance runners.

Last year's overall grand prix winner, Hicham El Guerrouj, from Morocco, looks favourite to repeat his success with the 800 metres, 1500 and 3,000 all counting for points this season.

The women's champion, the American sprinter, Marion Jones, however, will be hard-pressed to retain her crown as the 100, 400 and long jump are all missing from the women's events which count this time.

El Guerrouj and Jones, along with the Ethiopian distance runner, Haile Gebrselassie, shared a $1m (pounds 600,000) jackpot last season for winning all their Golden League events.

In total there will be $3.38m available in prize money for the grand prix circuit. The figure, unchanged from last season, covers the seven- meeting Golden League, 10 grands prix and 11 grands prix II meetings.

The final will be held in Munich on 11 September where individual event winners will each earn $50,000. The overall grands prix winners will receive $200,000.

This year's designated grand prix men's events are the 200m, 800m, 1500m, 3,000m, 3,000m steeplechase, 110m hurdles, long jump, pole vault, javelin. For women, the designated events are: 200m, 800m 1500m, 3,000m, 400m hurdles, high jump, triple jump, shot put.

The doping hearing of Sri Lanka's leading female sprinter Susanthika Jayasinghe has been adjourned until July, according to track and field's world governing body. The 24-year-old sprinter, who faces a two-year ban after testing positive for the steroid nandrolone in a random doping test last year, appeared at the IAAF doping panel on Thursday in Monte Carlo.

Giorgio Reineri, an IAAF spokesman, said Jayasinghe presented new evidence at the hearing, forcing the three-member doping panel to adjourn the case to a date in July.

Jayasinghe, who won a silver medal in the 200m at the 1997 world championships in Athens, tested positive for nandrolone-19 in April 1998.