Mackie misses out

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The Independent Online
Ian Mackie is obviously a young man in a hurry, although he could get to where he wants to be even faster if he starts to rectify a now acknowledged weakness.

Last weekend the latest flying Scotsman picked up the prestigious Inter- Counties 100 metres title in 10.25sec. Yesterday, at Cardiff Athletics Stadium, he won the invitation 150 metres race at the Welsh Games in a Welsh all-comers record. His winning time of 14.99 sec came almost at a canter and he eased up a full five metres from the line. Had he run flat out he would surely have broken Linford Christie's British best of 14.97 sec.

That race was due to feature the world 200 metre title holder Frankie Fredericks, but the Namibian had to pull out on Friday because of a political dispute. The last man to beat Michael Johnson remained at his French training base because of a conflict with his national governing body. Fredericks tried to speak to the Cardiff crowd in a telephone link-up from Monte Carlo with the meeting organiser Colin Jackson, but no one could hear him because of a poor line. It was left to his training partner Jackson to relay Fredericks' apologies for missing the Games.

The Namibian sprinter's decision to stay away could well have kept Christie's name in the record books a while longer, as Mackie admitted after the race: "If Frankie had been here there is no way I would have eased up at the finish. I didn't realise how close I was to the record and I must say I'm gutted now.

"Colin Jackson told me that I had eased off in the closing stages of the race at Bedford last weekend, although I hadn't realised. It is getting to be something of a bad habit and it is obviously something I'm going to have to rectify."

Another of Britain's fresh young faces, the local hero Jamie Baulch, also eased down in the final few strides in the invitation 300 metres. Even so, the world indoor 400 metres silver medalist still clocked a very handy personal best - and Welsh record - of 32.06 sec, beating Mark Hylton and Adrian Patrick into the bargain. It was another fine example of the sprinting ability of the man many people think could challenge Roger Black for the British No 1 status over 400 metres this summer.

Now trained by Christie, Baulch believes he is set for a big breakthrough in his event this summer: "I think I'm going to come on in leaps and bounds just because I'm getting to know what to do in the event. I feel ready this year, whereas I was still a novice last summer," he said.

One man who certainly isn't a novice at this event is Colin Jackson. The world 110 hurdles record holder breezed to his first victory of the season in a rather modest 13.86 sec, but still has another world title in his sights in Athens later this year.