Greene's exit hands advantage to Britons

World Athletics Championships: Relay team's chances of success are boosted by injury to 100m champion
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The Independent Online

Britain's chances of success in the men's 4x100 metres relay received a boost here yesterday as Maurice Greene confirmed he would take no further part in the Championships.

Greene, who earned his third consecutive 100m title and has competed all year wearing strapping to counteract tendinitis in his left knee, crossed the line in Sunday's final in obvious discomfort with pain in his left thigh and hamstring. He confirmed immediately that he would not be defending the world 200m title he won two years ago in Seville.

The promise of Britain's sprinters shone brightly in the 100m competition, before dimming at the finish. Dwain Chambers, who had to settle for fifth in the final, with 9.99 seconds in lane eight, will have the opportunity to start afresh today over the longer sprint. "I am looking forward to it," said the 23-year-old Londoner, who set a personal best of 20.31sec at Crystal Palace last month. "Maybe this is the event where I can do something good. I'm ready to roll."

Greene's absence will also encourage Britain's other 200 representatives, the trials winner Marlon Devonish and Christian Malcolm, who set a Welsh record of 10.09sec en route to finishing seventh in the 100m final.

Mark Lewis-Francis, who departed deflated from the 100m semi-final the day after learning his apparent world junior record had been invalidated because of a faulty wind gauge, has a chance to recover his spirits and look forward to leaving these Championships with a final flourish.

Dean Macey, who emerged at the last World Championships with similarly startling effect to secure a decathlon silver medal in his first major senior event, got off to an encouraging start here in pursuit of another medal for his collection.

The 23-year-old from Canvey Island was in bronze medal position after the first three of the 10 scheduled events. His opening effort of 10.60sec in the 100m was just three-hundredths of a second off his personal best, and he then long jumped 7.63m, only 14cm short of his best mark.

The long-jump performance was particularly significant for Macey, who injured a hamstring in this event last month and had said that he might have to settle here for one reasonable attempt. What he achieved in the Commonwealth Stadium was far better than that, and he followed it up with another bright showing in the shot put, where he recorded a first attempt of 15.41m, again close to his best of 15.50m.

But the performance of Tomas Dvorak of the Czech Republic, who won the gold ahead of Macey in Seville, was ominously good. He leapt from the sand clenching his fists after recording a long jump of 8.07m, a lifetime best, and then shot putted 16.57m. That was enough to give him a significant lead after three events, with a total of 2,912 points.

The Olympic champion Erki Nool lay second with 2,703, while Macey, with 2,696, was 22 points clear of the fourth placed Roman Sbrle, Dvorak's compatriot, who became the first man to surpass 9,000 points earlier this year.

Mike Openshaw, Britain's only representative in the men's 5,000m, made an expected exit from yesterday's heats with a time of 14min 00.84sec in a qualifying round in which Algeria's Ali Saidi-Sief recorded the fastest time of 13min 28.58sec. That result meant that Britain had no representatives in either the men's 800 or 5,000m, or the women's 1500m ­ statistics that show that the middle distance runners still have a way to go to catch up with the sprinters in world terms.

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