Athletics: Olympic encore

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The Independent Online
Tomorrow's inaugural Princes Street Mile, which had its complement of Olympic champions reduced from five to four on Thursday after a financial disagreement with the women's 1500 metres gold medallist, Hassiba Boulmerka, yesterday lost two of its supporting cast in the men's race - Rachid El Basir, the Olympic 1500m silver medallist, and Scotland's own Tom Hanlon, who has a recurrence of a long-standing back injury.

El Basir has an unmissable fixture in Oslo this morning when he acts as best man to his Moroccan team-mate, the Olympic 10,000m champion, Khalid Skah, and the prospect of racing away to Edinburgh after his speech has become less inviting now it is close at hand.

However, the overall quality of racing in this pounds 500,000 event is not likely to be affected. In the men's event, the Olympic 1500 and 800m champions, Fermin Cacho of Spain and William Tanui of Kenya, face competition from the European 1500m champion, Jens-Peter Herold of Germany, Mohammed Suleiman of Qatar, the Olympic 1500m bronze medallist, and two Kenyans, Joseph Chesire and David Kibet. Steve Cram also runs as part of a gradual build-up to next season's attempt to master the 5,000m.

The women's race features Ellen van Langen of the Netherlands and Yelena Romanova of Russia, the Olympic 800 and 3,000m champions respectively. Yvonne Murray, beaten out of sight by Romanova in Barcelona, will be seeking a measure of recompense on home territory. There will be an extra incentive for all on the day - Boulmerka's appearance fee, estimated at pounds 10,000, has been ploughed back into the general prize-money.

Carl Lewis, the world 100 metres record-holder, has decided to skip a possible showdown with the Olympic champion Linford Christie at this month's World Cup in Havana in favour of a higher-profile race with the Briton next year, an official of Lewis's club said yesterday.

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