Christie faces old adversary : ATHLETICS

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The Independent Online
Linford Christie and Sally Gunnell start their domestic season at Kelvin Hall, Glasgow on Saturday in a Great Britain match against France which also sees Colin Jackson in action. The big three are turning out, and Britain expects. It also expects a commercial backer for the meeting. Matthew Wheeler, of the marketing agents APA, said yesterday: "We hope to announce a sponsor for the meeting later in the week."

There are hopes, too, that the crowd will be larger than the turn-outs for the last two events at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, which the British Athletic Federation's spokesman, Tony Ward, admitted had been disappointing.

Christie makes his first domestic appearance of the year following two victories in Australia and Sunday's indoor win in Japan. He lines up in the 60 metres alongside the Birchfield Harrier, Mike Rosswess, the last British athlete to beat him at the distance.

John Regis brings a new UK 200m record of 20.47sec to the match after Sunday's run in Stuttgart. He is partnered - as expected - by Solomon Wariso, the first Briton to return to the national team after a drugs ban.

Also fresh from a record dash is Tony Jarrett, who partners Jackson after his new English record of 7.44 in Stuttgart threatened the Welshman's 18-month unbeaten sprint hurdles run.

Gunnell has her first race of 1995 over 400m, in tandem with Scotland's Melanie Neef, who admits to concern at the pressures attached to her winter form. She has broken Scottish records at 60, 200 and 400m.

"People at home seem to be expecting me to follow in the footsteps of Liz McColgan and Tom McKean, and I'm not sure I'm ready for that," said Neef, who broke the Scottish one-lap record at Birmingham last Saturday.

New faces in the team include the 18-year-old 400m prospect, Mark Hylton, and the American-based 800m runner, Abigail Hunte, who both won AAA titles on Saturday. Kate Staples, who set a Commonwealth pole vault record of 3.80m on Saturday, will seek a 26th British record. One opponent has jumped 3.91, a height she could surpass with the longer run-up and longer pole she has adopted within the last week.

GB team, Sporting Digest, page 31