Britain the lone runner in bid to stage 2005 World Championships

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The Independent Online

Britain will have no one to beat in their bid to host the 2005 World Championships - as long as they can come up with a definite site when the decision is made on 2-3 April.

Istvan Gyulai, general secretary of the International Amateur Athletic Federation, said the organisation had discounted the only other bid for the event - from Perth, Australia. One of the major factors which told against the Australians was the reluctance of the European Broadcasting Union - which has the rights to televise the championships - to embrace a programme which would not fit well into their schedules because of the time difference.

Dave Moorcroft, the chief executive of UK Athletics, is due to present a detailed bid to the IAAF council meeting in Paris at the beginning of next month, and it is understood Lamine Diack, president of the IAAF, wants to see a definite venue named following the collapse of plans to stage the London event at Wembley.

A decision over the venue may be made on Friday when the working party overseeing the bid, which involves representatives from the Government, UK Athletics, UK Sport, Sport England and the British Olympic Association, meets. It is believed that there is now a short list of four sites - Hackney, Hillingdon, RAF Northolt and Crystal Palace.

Representatives of the Hackney bid want the main venue to be at the derelict Hackney Stadium and president Diack was reported as saying at the conclusion of the World Cross-Country Championships that he would not have a problem with the site.

British cross-country runners may find life becoming easier from next month when there are plans to launch a series of races in Durham, Brussels, Milan, Seville and Portugal - which will only offer cash rewards to European runners.

Officials plan to hand out gold bars to the winners of their Golden League series this year although the value of the jackpot has been halved. Last year, athletes completed for a jackpot of $1m (£650,000). This year the plan is to hand out 50 kilos of gold ingots to athletes who win their events at six of the seven meetings. At present prices, the jackpot is worth around $500,000.

Linford Christie is to have his positive doping case considered by the IAAF arbitration panel from 6-9 July, it was announced yesterday.

Steve Smith has suffered another blow to his hopes of an Olympic gold medal. The high jumper has had to have a second operation on his damaged Achilles tendon, which will keep him out of action at least until June.