Christie finds motivation

Athletics
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The Independent Online
Linford Christie, who begins the defence of his world 100 metres title here today as the championships get underway, believes he can break the world record of 9.85sec if necessary.

"I am capable of running it," he said yesterday. "I have got all the ammunition." His confidence would seem to indicate that the treatment he received on a hamstring problem in Munich last week after competing in Oslo and Sheffield in quick succession has been a success.

"I have got everything to lose," said Christie, who ran a personal best of 9.87sec to win the title in Stuttgart two years ago. "I can't get any more famous and well known than I am now. There are a lot of people who don't want me to win. But I'm a born winner, a born champion. I have the ammunition."

Christie, however, was characteristically uneven in his tone. "Nothing in athletics is a foregone conclusion," he said. "There will be eight good guys there and any one of them can win. I have had more niggles this year than ever before, and I know I can't just walk in there and win.'' He was touchy, too, when a foreign journalist ventured to ask how it felt to be a grandfather at 35. "What has that got to do with athletics?" he replied. "Nothing. It's a nice story but my personal life doesn't come into it.''

Unfortunately for Christie, in this media age, personal life does come into it. But he is likely to use that to stoke a sense of anger which has proved a powerful motivation in the past. Christie denies he does this, but he has the rare gift of turning anger into athletic achievement.

There was support yesterday from Christie's colleague, Colin Jackson, who is here to support the British team and train for a possible competition later in the season. "Linford has arrived as the world champion and he will leave as the world champion," the world 110m hurdles record holder said.

The International Amateur Athletic Federation's president, Primo Nebiolo, has publicly kissed and made up with the Swedes after threatening to leave before the Championships began, following what he regarded as an intrusive interview by a female Swedish journalist.

At a press conference, Nebiolo announced: "Our athletic movement is proud and happy to hold our championships here in Gothenburg. I hope this fantastic weather stays until the Championships are over. It has helped show me the true beauty of Gothenburg." Message received and understood, presumably - although there was still an undercurrent of booing and whistling when he was first introduced to the crowd in last night's opening ceremony. Peace and harmony prevailed, however.

The Cuban athletic federation yesterday wrote to Nebiolo to appeal against the decision not to ratify the world long jump record of 8.96 metres set last Saturday by Ivan Pedroso. The Italian federation, which had jurisdiction over the meeting in Sestriere, said it would not seek ratification after video evidence appeared to show that the wind-speed recording apparatus was being impeded during the Cuban's jumps by an interested spectator.

Jim White profiles

Linford Christie, page 15

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