Christie denied farewell victory

ATHLETICS: Olympic champion loses out in photo finish as Edwards and Sanderson reinforce medal hopes


Linford Christie, who will defend his Olympic 100 metres title in Atlanta on Friday week, bade farewell to the British public at the Securicor Games here last night without securing the victory he might have expected against a modest 100m field.

For the second time in three days, Christie was beaten by the narrowest of margins as Michael Green of Jamaica breasted the line first in a time of 10.26sec.

Christie, who was credited with the same time, appeared to have recovered after being a metre adrift at the halfway point, but his final lunge proved insufficient, just as it had in the Nice grand prix on Wednesday, when he had to give best to the world champion Donovan Bailey on a photo-finish.

"I am not pleased with the run," he said afterwards. "But I will be okay for Atlanta."

There was a further unexpected turn of events in the 400 metres when Du'Aine Ladejo, one of Britain's three individual choices in Atlanta, walked away from his blocks and out of the race complaining of stomach cramps.

"I haven't been feeling good all day," said Ladejo, who stood up twice from his position in lane eight before strolling back past the bemused glances of his rivals. His mood would not have been improved by hearing his rival Roger Black mistakenly introduced to the crowd as the European champion, a title Ladejo holds.

In the absence of the world champion Michael Johnson, still considering legal action after being denied a run in this race by the organisers, another American stepped in to provide serious opposition for Britain's leading runners, and won.

Darnell Hall, who did not qualify for Atlanta, recorded 44.68sec ahead of Black. But the man who has twice lowered the British record this season looked pleased enough to have won his domestic battle with a time of 44.88sec. Iwan Thomas, the third British individual representative, third in 45.08sec.

Jonathan Edwards, who is looking increasingly like Britain's safest hope for an Olympic gold medal, gave an erratic performance in front of a crowd of about 10,000 eager to applaud every good thing he did. Despite running through several of his attempts, Edwards, who transformed the triple jumping event last year in a season which culminated in a world record and a world title, made no mistake about extending his unbeaten run.

A fourth-round effort of 17.52 metres was enough to extend the sequence that began in June last year. His team-mate in Atlanta, Francis Agyepong maintained his encouraging form by taking second place in 16.77m.

Tessa Sanderson, bound for a sixth Olympics at the age of 40, won the javelin with a throw of 64.06 metres, which gives her a realistic hope of reaching the Olympic final, and an outside chance of winning a medal.

"I hope this sends a shock down my rivals' spines," she said. "I'm back."

It was the furthest she had thrown since she returned to competition earlier this year after a four-year absence. Having made the Olympic qualifying mark she had spent the intervening weeks trying to reach the mid 60's, from which point greater things become possible. The furthest throw in the world this year, by Felicia Tilea, is only 69.26.

That Sanderson, who won the Olympic title in 1984, she can raise her game at such a time is a tribute to the competitive instincts which have served her so well since her first Olympics in 1976.

"It was a brilliant way to say farewell," she said. She estimates that a throw of 64 or 65 metres will be enough to secure a medal, and that 66 would be enough for gold.

Asked what she thought she would realistically be able to throw in Atlanta, she replied: "My coach says 70, but I think something around 67 is possible. When I get out there, all I will be thinking about is winning."

Steve Backley, in only his second javelin competition since returning from an Achilles tendon operation, raised his season's best to 85.58metres to confirm that he is getting his preparations right for the Games.

Allen Johnson, America's world 110m hurdles champion, gave notice of his gold medal ambition by running well clear of a field that included Britain's world silver medallist Tony Jarrett to win in 13.20sec.

Vebjorn Rodal of Norway also confirmed his position as an Olympic favourite, in this instance the 800 metres, with victory in a time of 1min 43.25sec.

With Wilson Kipketer, the Kenyan who now lives in Denmark, ineligible for the Games because of passport difficulties, Rodal, who is second to him in the world rankings, is left with a marvellous opportunity. "It's bad for the Olympics, but not for me," Rodal said of his rival's enforced absence.

The women's 5,000 metres, which was to have been a world record attempt by Ireland's world champion Sonia O'Sullivan, failed in that billing, but it turned into an absorbing race as the leggy Irish runner was trailed over the final four laps by Britain's Paula Radcliffe, Sally Barsosio of Kenya and Ireland's former European cross country champion, Catherina McKiernan.

At the bell, O'Sullivan, who had appeared to flag in mid-race, took up the running and only Radcliffe, with her nodding-dog style of running giving the clue to the amount of effort she was putting in, responded.

Radcliffe never quite lost touch with O'Sullivan, but she was unable to challenge her seriously either and the Irish runner won in 14min 48.36sec. Radcliffe was second in 14.51,71.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 27

Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
peoplePamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
Arts and Entertainment
tvSpielberg involved in bringing his 2002 film to the small screen
sportLeague Managers' Association had described Malky Mackay texts as 'friendly banter'
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
peopleCareer spanned 70 years, including work with Holocaust survivors
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of IT (Not-for-Profit sector) - East Sussex

£45000 - £50000 per annum + 5 weeks holiday & benefits: Ashdown Group: Head of...

Nursery Nurse

£25 per day: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery nurse needed in th...

Supply Teaching jobs in Thetford

£21588 - £31566 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education ar...

KS1 teachers needed in Peterborough

£110 - £125 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education are ur...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape