Wariso focuses on GB return

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The Independent Online
ATHLETICS : The AAA indoor championships, which start in Birmingham today 60 years after they were first held at the Empire Pool, Wembley, offer Solomon Wariso the chance to achieve an important ambition.

Having returned at New Year from his three-month suspension for taking a banned stimulant, the Haringey sprinter has the chance of returning to the international fold if he can produce the goods in the 200 metres this weekend.

The selectors meet on Sunday to pick their team for the following weekend's match against France in Glasgow, and Wariso looks likely to contest the second place behind John Regis with Darren Braithwaite. The latter beat him in the New Year Games; Wariso beat Braithwaite last Saturday while running as a guest in the match against Russia.

"To run at the world indoor championships is not at the top of my priorities," Wariso said. "To run again for Britain is.''

Regis, meanwhile, intends to sharpen up for his world indoor challenge by having another go at the 60m. His time of 6.73sec against Russia was a relative disappointment to him on a day when he ran the 200m in 20.65sec, the fastest time this year.

Regis's most likely challengers will be Mike Rosswess, the European indoor silver medallist who beat Linford Christie at these championships last year, and Jason Fergus.

Melanie Neef, who announced her arrival in international 400m running by becoming the only British woman to win at last year's indoor international against Russia, has delayed her first 400 of this season until these championships - in last week's match against Russia she restricted herself to the 400m relay.

Neef, the daughter of the former Rangers goalkeeper Gerry Neef, gave an early indication of her potential for this season by setting Scottish records at 60 and 200m of 7.35sec and 23.73sec respectively at last month's national championships. Her 200m time was the fifth fastest ever by a British runner.

Kate Staples, who raised her Commonwealth pole vault record to 3.75m at last weekend's match against Russia, plans to compete tomorrow with a longer pole and a longer run-up. She believes the combination could add 15-20cm to her record.

It is an indication of the growing interest in this event that there have been entries from 19 women pole vaulters.

One of the most intense rivalries this weekend could be that between Michelle Griffith and Ashia Hansen in the triple jump. Hansen, who set a Commonwealth record of 14.17m last Saturday, accepted afterwards that comments made about her by Griffith in a letter to Athletics Weekly had "got her going".