World Athletics Championship: Gunnell plays down parity

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SALLY GUNNELL, the world 400 metres hurdles champion, said yesterday that she will not insist on pay parity with Linford Christie, a fellow British gold medal winner in Stuttgart. Returning to a rapturous welcome at Heathrow Airport yesterday, Gunnell said that comments she made about equal pay with male athletes had been blown out of proportion.

'I am happy with the situation,' Gunnell said. 'I'm not going to be arguing for the next six months that I should be getting the same as Linford. I just want to run. You are not here for the money - you love sport and you love athletics.' She confirmed that she would appear in the McDonald's Games in Sheffield on Sunday.

Gunnell paid tribute to the way that the early success of Christie, who also returned to Heathrow yesterday, set the tone for the games and the British performance. 'The Americans were panicking, wanting to know our secret recipe. But there is no secret recipe - it is just going out there with hard work and determination, rain or snow,' she said.

The outcome of Katrin Krabbe's recourse to a 'secret recipe' continued to hound the International Amateur Athletic Federation yesterday when it said that it could face a courtroom battle over a decision to impose a new two-year ban on the German sprinter, who has admitted taking drugs.

The IAAF announced it was banning Krabbe and her team-mates, Grit Breuer and Manuela Derr, who have been suspended for the past year, for two further years from Monday. But Arne Ljungqvist, the head of the IAAF drugs panel, asked if he feared Krabbe might resort to the civil courts to oppose the ban, said: 'That could be the situation . . . The council did not get legal advice on the two years.'

The IAAF was unable to enforce its minimum four-year ban for drugs offences because of a legal loophole and banned the athletes under rules governing unsportsmanlike behaviour.

However, Jan Kern, the general secretary of the German athletics federation, said: 'A total of three years for unsportsmanlike behaviour would not get past a German court. We will call the (IAAF) arbitration panel into action immediately. This is a strange decision. It does not meet with German or international law.'

The IAAF has accepted a request by Kenyan officials to put the recent case of the five-times world cross-country champion, John Ngugi, to the arbitration panel. Ngugi refused to undergo a drugs test last February.