Athletics: Regis is happy to take on the best

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LINFORD CHRISTIE has decided against a European Championship warm-up race in Monte Carlo tonight despite gaining medical clearance after the hamstring tear he suffered on 15 July. But a number of Britain's elite athletes, led by John Regis, will use the Grand Prix meeting for fine tuning.

While Christie remains in training nearby, Regis races over 200 metres against a field including two men who have won the world title at that distance, Frankie Fredericks and Michael Johnson.

Regis appears to need the finest of fine tuning. After lowering his own British 200m record to 19.87sec in the thin air of Sestriere on Sunday, where he held off Fredericks after running a magnificent bend, he is the clear favourite to retain the European 200m title in Helsinki next week.

Roger Black, recovered from a post-viral syndrome and seeking to become the first man to win three European 400m titles, races against the rival who appears most likely to frustrate that ambition in Helsinki, Du'Aine Ladejo, Britain's European indoor champion. Both will be stretched against a field which includes the Olympic champion, Quincy Watts, and Derek Mills, who beat them both last month.

Mark Rowland, who, like Black, has faced a huge struggle to regain fitness - in the last three years he has had four operations on his Achilles tendons - races in the 3,000m steeplechase. He is now back in contention to win a medal in Helsinki.

Colin Jackson, who also made use of Sestriere's thin air to run a wind-assisted 12.94sec, seeks his eighth straight 110m hurdles win of the season in a race which also includes Tony Jarrett, the world silver medal winner.

Noureddine Morceli, Algeria's world 1,500m champion, will make an attempt on the world 3,000m record of 7min 28.96sec held by Moses Kiptanui, of Kenya, who ran a world best of 8min 9.01sec for two miles on Saturday.