Athletics: Morceli manages after all

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The Independent Online
NOUREDDINE MORCELI and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, the outstanding international athletes of the year, each left the brand new Charlety Stadium in Paris, pounds 86,000 to the good following Saturday's Grand Prix final, but in Morceli's case it was definitely not achieved with the minimum of fuss.

Morceli, who set the world 3,000m record this season to add to those he already held at the mile and 1500m, pulled out claiming he was sick on the morning of a meeting which he knew could prove so lucrative for him.

Not surprisingly though, he somehow hauled himself to the start-line for the 1500m, and once there he looked anything but ill as he raced away from the young pretender, Venuste Niyongabo, to claim the overall men's title.

In the 100m, the American Dennis Mitchell handed Linford Christie his third defeat inside a week. 'I thought I'd won it,' Christie said after a desperately tight finish, but the photograph showed Mitchell ahead by 0.01sec in 10.12 - reward for the way he reacted after his rival roared by at 60m.

Christie, who also lost to Mitchell in Berlin and to Jon Drummond in Rieti, was consoled by a cheque for pounds 13,000 from a meeting offering a total of pounds 1.4m in prize-money.

Joyner-Kersee emerged from the pack to match Morceli's achievement. She won the long jump with 7.21m to finish ahead overall of the sprint hurdler Svetlana Dmitrova and Ireland's Sonia O'Sullivan on the special scoring tables after they were level on points.

O'Sullivan needed to win the 5,000m in a personal best 14:45.89 to overtake Joyner- Kersee. She made a bold, solo attempt, but a long season eventually took its toll and she was nearly half a minute outside the target. The 24- year-old still picked up pounds 40,000 to add to her European 3,000m title.

Britain's 400m pair had an off-day, Roger Black finishing fourth and Du'aine Ladejo, the man who took his European title, seventh in a race won by the American Derek Mills in 45.22. In a non-Grand Prix event, Colin Jackson stretched his unbeaten record for the season over the high hurdles, winning in 13.08.

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