Athletics: Baulch calls for Christie to be named as Olympic coach

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The Independent Online

Jamie Baulch, the former world indoor 400 metres champion, has urged the leaders of UK Athletics to employ his former coach Linford Christie at this year's Olympic Games.

Baulch, who began his season by finishing third over 200 meters in 21.71sec at last night's Sparkassen International meeting here, said afterwards: "With his past record at that level, he should be part of the British coaching set-up in Athens. Linford is a great motivator and we need people with his experience at Olympic level to pass on advice not only just to the sprinters but anyone who wants to listen.

"I know he wouldn't turn down any appointment offered to him. Indeed he would leap at the opportunity of contributing to the sport he loves."

Baulch split amicably from Christie in the autumn, because they were almost continuously apart in London and Cardiff.

Racing indoors for the first time since sharing the world 400m indoor bronze with Ireland's Paul McKee last March, Baulch had a sluggish start with Sebastian Ernst taking the tape. Last summer's European junior 100m gold-medallist was 0.31sec ahead of another German Till Helmke, with Baulch struggling in the closing stages.

Baulch, who is aiming for another world indoor gold medal after his last success five years ago, is now coached by Nigeria's former Olympic 400m silver-medallist, Innocent Egbunike. "I spent two months before Christmas training with him in Alabama," said Baulch, who then returned to his Georgia training base in the New Year.

The UK indoor 400m record-holder added: "I only got back from the US last week and a couple of days ago got the opportunity to run here. I needed a sharpener before the World trials in Sheffield at the weekend."

Hayley Tullett was in a much more ferocious race, where Berhane Adere was attacking her own 3,000m world record which she set two years ago of 8min and 29.15sec.

The Ethiopian, who broke the 5,000m mark on Sunday, tried and failed in her attempt. Adere finished in a time of 8:33.05, still well ahead of the remainder of the field after hitting the front after the first kilometre.

Tullett was content to run her own race against the rest of the pack, finishing fourth in 8:48.77 behind the Germans Sabrina Mockenhaupt and Irina Mikitenko.