Wind factor blow to record chances

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The Independent Online

Sprinter Ato Boldon fears any chances of world records at this year's Olympic Games in Sydney will be blown away.

Trinidad's former world 200 metres champion has added his concerned voice to the criticism of wind conditions as the 110,000-seater Stadium Australia.

Boldon's battle for the 100m crown with training partner and world champion Maurice Greene was expected to be one of the highlights of the Games which get underway on September 15.

But Boldon has already ruled out either of the duo challenging the world record of 9.79 seconds set by the American Greene in Athens last year.

"As an athlete I know I just have to go out and run with the same wind as everyone else," said Boldon, who made a flying visit to the stadium this week.

"But it's one thing for the fan to see the Olympic champion win in 10 seconds flat and it's another for them to see the Olympic champion run 9.6 or 9.7."

Boldon, a friend of countryman Dwight Yorke, the Manchester United striker, added: "That's an historical moment as opposed to another Olympic final."

Officials admit that wind conditions at the stadium in Homebush Bay, one of the windier areas of the city, are far from ideal though little can be done now.

Concern at wind dashing any record breaking runs was raised at the recent national championships at Stadium Australia, although the Games trials will go ahead at the venue in August.

With the countdown to the Games a few days past the six-month mark, an ill wind appears to be growing amid all the preparations for the biggest sporting event in the world.

Rowers last week complained about the conditions at the £15million Sydney International Regatta centre in Penrith where Britain's Steve Redgrave will bid for an historic fifth gold medal at successive Games.

Several finals at the national rowing championships had to be rescheduled because of strong cross head-winds which could cause havoc to the Olympic programme if they reappear in September.

Boldon, meanwhile, included Britain's Dwain Chambers, who won bronze at last year's world championships in Seville, in his list of contenders for the Olympic title.

But the 26-year-old, who missed the worlds through injury, is hopeful his early visit to the stadium to film an advert for one of his sponsors will give him the edge over his rivals.

"I went and stood one step behind the finish line and breathed it in," said the American-based sprinter who won bronze at the 100m and 200m at the last Games in Atlanta four years ago.

"By the time we come back here to Sydney other sprinters won't have been to that stadium as often as me. That to me is a psychological advantage right there."