24 JUL 1999 General News

Gardener takes British sprinting showdown


Steven Downes (Reuters)
Jason Gardener won the long-awaited showdown between Britain's top sprinters at the national championships on Saturday with a 10.02 seconds 100 metre victory.

Gardener, 23, the world indoor 60 metres bronze medallist, was fastest out of his blocks and neither Darren Campbell, the European champion, nor Dwain Chambers, the European silver medallist, could catch him.

A following wind of 2.3 metres per second meant the time could not stand as a UK Allcomers' record.

Chambers finished second in 10.07 and Campbell third in 10.18.

Earlier this summer, Gardener and Chambers became the second and third Britons ever to break 10 seconds. The British record holder remains Linford Christie, the 1992 Olympic champion, with 9.87sec.

Gardener said: "The occasion was a big one. There were a lot of egos at stake today. To run that fast at the AAAs (Amateur Athletics Association championships) is a bit special. It was not a great performance because I lost my rhythm towards the end of the race, and it's a shame I did not dip under 10sec, but I'm sure I'll do it before the end of the season."

Campbell, content to have made the British team for August's world championships in Seville, was surprised at the tension and pressure involved in the race.

"The expectation on us today was so much greater than there has ever been before at the AAAs. In the past, Linford Christie's been able to come here and win fairly comfortably in 10.1. Today, until we'd crossed the line, any one of us could have won it."

The biggest shock of the day came away from the stadium, when Mark Richardson announced that he would not be running in Sunday's 400 metres final. Richardson, the silver medallist at last year's European championships and Commonwealth Games after beating America's Michael Johnson in Oslo, has a tight hamstring.

Elsewhere, Britain's best medal hopes for Seville comfortably went through their paces.

Colin Jackson, the 110 metres hurdles world record-holder, had an easy 13.24sec victory, yet the race made athletics history. It was his ninth AAA sprint hurdles win, beating the record for the event held by Donald Findlay, the Battle of Britain pilot who collected his eight titles between 1929 and 1949.

"I know I will be ready when I get to Seville," Jackson said, "It would be great if 1999 finishes with Colin Jackson as world indoor and outdoor champion."

Steve Smith, the Olympic high jump bronze medallist, making a comeback a year on from being sidelined with a career-threatening back injury, regained the high jump title with 2.28 metres.

Denise Lewis, the European and Commonwealth heptathlon champion, had her first competition of any sort for more than a month, throwing 46.30 metres for sixth in the javelin and putting the shot 15.10 metres for fourth place. On Sunday, she intends to hurdle and long jump.

Selected British World Championship trials results

Men
100 metres
1. Jason Gardener 10.02secs, 2. Dwain Chambers 10.07, 3. Darren Campbell 10.18
110m hurdles
1. Colin Jackson 13.24
High Jump
1. Steve Smith 2.28m
Discus
1. Robert Weir 61.35m

Women
100 metres
1. Joice Maduaka 11.37