Christie misses golden chance

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Linford Christie lost his chance of a share in the most lucrative prize in athletics when he was beaten by the world champion, Donovan Bailey, in Berlin last night. The 35-year-old Christie was just pipped by the Canadian in a photo-finish in the 100 metres. Both sprinters were given the same time of 10.10sec.

Christie, who said only, "I ran my race - that's all", was forced to watch as the Americans Gwen Torrence and Michael Johnson, the Byelorussian javelin thrower Natalya Shikolenko and Ireland's Sonia O'Sullivan took their events to share the jackpot after winning at each of the Golden Four series in Oslo, Zurich, Brussels and Berlin. The prize is paid out in 1kg gold bars and they earned pounds 41,500 apiece.

O'Sullivan produced the most dramatic of performances, kicking hard down the back straight and off the final bend to overtake Fernanda Ribeiro and win in 14min 41.40sec.

Johnson looked in complete control of the 400m, which he won in 44.56, while Torrence won the 200m easily in 21.98. Merlene Ottey pulled up with what looked like a leg muscle strain.

Shikolenko took her share of the gold by winning the women's javelin with a throw of 67.72m.

Haile Gebrselassie decided his 5,000m duel with Moses Kiptanui in the penultimate lap and went to win in 12:53.19.

The only real shock of the evening, which included a predictable win by Jonathan Edwards (17.35m in the triple jump), came when Okkert Brits of South Africa beat Sergei Bubka in the pole vault. Brits won with 5.95m to Bubka's 5.90.

Despite the absence of Allen Johnson, Colin Jackson was unable to salvage a belated 110m hurdles victory from what has been a miserable season. Jackson led from the blocks, but was overhauled by America's Mark Crear, who won by one-hundredth of a second in 13.28.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 27