Christie runs into more trouble with the media

Athletics
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The Independent Online
Linford Christie's unhappy relations with the media plunged to a new low yesterday with an angry outburst against a group of reporters and photographers at Heathrow Airport.

The Olympic and world 100 metres champion, who, in Monday's emotional announcement, cited media treatment as a reason for retiring at the end of this season, faced a group of about eight reporters as he checked in on a flight to Nuremberg, where he competes tonight.

As the cameras began to click, the 35-year-old sprinter yelled: "Do you want some? If you lot want some, you'll have something different to write about OK? I don't want to see blood shed on this airport but if you want some..."

Christie called over security officials and was taken to his plane by car, avoiding more media and public attention. "He was extremely angry and was complaining that he was being harassed," a security man said.

Given Christie's state of mind at the moment, the whole scenario was depressingly predictable. The photographers got their pictures...

There was at least some good news for Christie - or rather, some not- bad news - in the form of a statement released by Peter Radford, the executive chairman of the British Athletic Federation, on the subject of payments to athletes.

The statement, over which Christie's agent, Sue Barrett, had been consulted, maintained that negotiations were "still progressing in the normal way" and the BAF was "still hopeful" that Christie, Colin Jackson and John Regis - the Nuff Respect athletes - would be competing in "as many British meetings as possible this year".

Discussions would continue "on the basis of what we believe to be fair and reasonable and within our ability to meet".

Radford also urged Christie not to quit this year, adding: "I was sad to hear Linford has decided this is his final year in top class athletics. I only hope his results this summer will be so good he will reconsider his decision."

Malcolm Arnold, the federation's chief coach, said: "Linford still has an enormous amount to offer. It's a shame this sideshow is dominating the main act."

Jackson makes his second outdoor appearance of the season in Nuremburg, where he is due to meet the top German high hurdlers, including Mike Fenner and Eric Kaiser, who head this year's world rankings with times of 13.06sec and 13.08 respectively, compared with Jackson's opening time of 13.18.

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