Edwards jumping his way towards the jackpot

Mike Rowbottom reflects on a night of world records and near-misses in Zurich
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The Independent Online
Linford Christie, beaten in the Zurich Grand Prix 100 metres for the first time in three years, sat despondently in the doping control area.

He was joined by the man who has succeeded him as world and then Olympic champion, Donovan Bailey. Past and present champions, side by side. "I'm going to run the rest of the season," Christie said. And after that? "I'm retired," he responded. "See him in Sydney," Bailey suggested teasingly. But it failed to raise a smile. There will be no more Olympics for Christie. There may be for Jonathan Edwards. He, at any rate, is looking towards the tail end of the season with a fresh sense of optimism.

His final triple jump of 17.79m confirmed his victory over the man who beat him in the Olympic final last month, Kenny Harrison. As he stepped away from the sand, there was the same eagerness about him that he had in his annus mirabilis last season, and when the distance registered, he punched the air before raising both hands to the Letzigrund Stadium's version of the Kop. "I jumped well all night, even though the conditions weren't all that good," Edwards said. "I went into the meeting hoping it would kick-start my season but I must admit I wasn't that hopeful.

"But right from the first round I had a real spring in my step. It was a real transformation from London a few days ago - a big crowd and a good atmosphere, which obviously helped me. It means I am looking forward to the next few competitions."

He can also look forward to a large amount of money if he carries on in his current fashion. Even though he has not been happy with his technique all season, he has still managed to register six grands prix victories, so next month's grand prix final - with individual event winners earning $50,000 (pounds 32,250) - could prove lucrative for him.

Having won the first two of the designated Golden Four meetings, he is also in the running for a share of the pounds 160,000-worth of gold bars which will be shared among those who win their event at each meeting.

Edwards' new-found buoyancy had nothing to do with the fact that he had beaten Harrison - "that was neither here nor there; he won the one that mattered", he said. It was the glimpse of last year that seemed to excite him. "I over-rotated on my last jump. Otherwise it would have been a really long one. If I can repeat this form in better conditions, 18 metres is not out of the question."

Britain's other individual silver medallists at Atlanta, Roger Black and Steve Backley, both displayed a weariness that probably had as much to do with mental as physical factors. Black, fourth in the 400m in 44.83sec, said as much afterwards. Backley, sixth in the javelin with 82.70m, was well beaten by Raymond Hecht, who threw a stadium record of 92.28m.

Svetlana Masterkova's world record of 4min 12.56sec in the mile, in what was her debut at the distance, was the 20th to have been set in the meeting's history.

Zurich's world record breakers of 1995, Moses Kiptanui and Haile Gebrselassie, both made a major impact on their return, but with differing fortunes. Kiptanui recorded his sixth 3,000m steeplechase win in Zurich by 0.01sec after a sprint finish with the fellow Kenyan who beat him to the Olympic title last month, Joseph Keter.

Gebrselassie was left trailing in the 5,000m by the 20-year-old Kenyan whom Kiptanui himself coaches, Daniel Komen. Last Saturday, Komen - who comes from a family of 13 - missed the world record by 0.05sec, apparently unaware of the mark. By the way he sprinted away from the Ethiopian on the final bend, he must have been aware of the time of 12:44.39 Gebrselassie had set the previous year. In the end, he missed it by just 0.7sec.

Du'aine Ladejo, Britain's European 400m champion, will miss the rest of the season because of a virus.

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