Athletics: Miller has a dig at weary Gardener

By Mike Rowbottom
Monday 24 February 2003 01:00

Jason Gardener and Kelly Holmes, two of Britain's leading contenders for medals at next month's World Indoor Championships, suffered an afternoon of frustration in Lievin, France, yesterday.

Gardener, a convincing winner of Friday night's Norwich Union Grand Prix 60m in 6.49sec, had to give best to the man who was refused a place at the Birmingham meeting, Coby Miller. The American, who won this last 60m event in the Energizer EuroSeries in 6.53sec, a hundredth of a second faster than the double European indoor champion, had a point to make in defeating Gardener for the second time in five days. "I think I would have won in Birmingham and Jason would have got a much quicker time," argued Miller.

Gardener said: "I'm disappointed at coming second. I've done a lot of travelling in my preparations for next month's World Championships and I'm pretty tired. But everything is going well for Birmingham."

Holmes forfeited her own chances of victory over 1,000m to assist her new training partner, Maria Mutola, in a vain attempt to break her own world record of 2min 30.94sec set four years ago in Stockholm.

The British runner, who had never paced a race before, completed, to be told initially she had finished 0.21sec inside the national record of 2:38.45 set by Jo Fenn on Friday, only to discover the time had been credited to her wrongly and she had missed Fenn's mark by 0.01sec.

Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj failed in his attempt to break the two-day-old world indoor two-mile record, running 8:06.62, almost two seconds shy of the mark set by Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie at Birmingham on Friday.

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