Johnson keeps up fine form

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The Independent Online

Britain's European Cup selectors, who will announce their team tomorrow for the forthcoming competition in Bremen on 23-24 June, were given another hefty nudge towards choosing Jade Johnson for the long jump yesterday when the 21-year-old won at the Arles meeting.

Johnson, who produced a best of 6.68m at Bedford last month, confirmed her current form by winning in France in 6.58, which was 12cm further than Olympic heptathlon champion Denise Lewis managed in Seville on Friday night.

Johnson's promise as a 14-year-old, when she jumped 6.24m, has been undermined in recent years by injury and inconsistency but her current run indicates that she can now go on to reach the heights once predicted for her.

Elsewhere in Arles, Christian Malcolm won the 100m in 10.19sec but he has a way to go at that distance if he is to catch his friend Dwain Chambers, who ran 10.01 in Seville, and he also has his work cut out to claim a 200m place in Bremen following Marlon Devonish's 20.40 sec timing in Poznan on Friday.

Paula Radcliffe, who is expected to seek a European Cup run over 5,000 metres, will do so with confidence sky high after winning the 10km New York road race on Saturday in 30min 47sec, which took a full minute off her previous best, set four years ago, and put her second in the British all-time list behind the 30.39 set by Liz McColgan 12 years ago.

Radcliffe's long-time coach Alex Stanton testified to the world cross-country champion's excitement yesterday. "She was so thrilled by the run, she almost flew down the phone at me,'' he said.

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