Athletics: Norman's power cut in job-share scheme

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ANDY NORMAN, the man who controls the purse strings of British athletics, yesterday escaped censure from track and field officials despite the growing concern about the extent of his influence in the sport.

But a management board meeting of the British Athletic Federation in Birmingham reduced Norman's powers slightly by agreeing that in future he will have to share with the national coach, Frank Dick, his duties of arranging overseas opportunities for British athletes.

Norman, who devised the pounds 200,000 Carl Lewis-Linford Christie race in Gateshead has been under attack for possessing what many critics believe is an unhealthy power base.

But the meeting decided that Norman did have too much work on his plate to be able to carry on the role of organising foreign matches alone - though this will hardly affect his power base. In future, he will share the duties with Dick, and concentrate on promoting and organising the major British televised meetings.

Dick's role has also been redefined with the Board agreeing that he should now 'work in a more specialised area than previously with responsibility for identification, development and support of outstanding talent'.

The International Amateur Athletic Federation yesterday banned two women for drug offences. The world 3,000 metres champion Tatyana Dorovskikh has been banned for four years after testing positive for an anabolic steroid at Budapest in June, and her compatriot Inessa Kravets, the Olympic long jump silver medallist, for testing positive for ephedrine at Lausanne on 7 July.

Carl Lewis yesterday warned that athletics was dying in the United States and called for radical administrative changes. 'Our sport is going down the drain,' Lewis said. 'We are still denying in our country that track and field is declining.'

Lewis, who has won 16 Olympic and world titles, was particularly critical of the American selection system for major championships, under which the first three finishers in the trials are automatically selected.

Lewis himself was a victim of the system last year because of illness and was unable to defend his Olympic 100m title after finishing sixth at the trials. The 32-year-old American, who will run both the 100m and 200m at the World Championships, added that all Olympic and world champions should have the right to defend their titles, regardless of their current form.

The Kenyan David Kibet will defend his Standard Life Princes Street Mile title in Edinburgh on 12 September. He will face a strong challenge from William Tanui, the Olympic 800m champion, the three-times world indoor 1500m champion Marcus O'Sullivan, of Ireland, the American, Jim Spivey and Simon Doyle, of Australia. Britain's Steve Cram, third last year, has also said he intends to run.