01 FEB 1999 General News

Time catches up with Christie

Linford Christie's bid to come out of retirement and win one more national indoor title lasted one 60-meter race at Birmingham on Saturday and ended with an injured hamstring. The usual attendance at Birmingham's International Arena was double the normal for this event, to around 1,000, and no one doubted the identity of the crowd-puller down for the 60 metres. But the 38-year-old grandfather, winner of Olympic and world championship gold and just about everything else over 100 metres, tweaked a hamstring in his right thigh before many of the spectators had taken their seats for the first of eight heats.

Christie eased up noticeably before the end, finished second to the unfamiliar figure of Raymond Salami and limped away holding his right leg to announce that his weekend was over.The most impressive performance on the track came from another sprinter, Marcus Adam, who confirmed his return to the big time with a spectacular win over 200 metres.

It was seven years ago that Adam last made headlines, as the man who beat Michael Johnson in the 1992 Olympic semi-final to create the biggest sensation of the Games. Since then the former European junior champion, who won the Commonwealth title in 1990, has struggled to maintain any form or fitness. His fade into virtual obscurity, which included two Achilles tendon operations and two years in which he did not race at all, made his performance at Birmingham's National Indoor Arena all the more impressive.

Out of his blocks like a bullet, the man who holds a record of sorts in having beaten Johnson five times in all, tore round the track to cross the line in 20.77sec, the fastest time in the world this year and only 0.02sec outside a personal best set eight years ago.

In other indoor action, Maurice Greene ran 6.46 for 60 metres at the Jayhawk Invitational in Kansas, on January 29, the fastest time in the world this year. Greene has predicted that he will soon improve his world record of 6.39.

The evergreen Merlene Ottey - who celebrates her 39th birthday later this year – ran a world leading 7.06 at the Erdgas Hallenmeeting in Chemnitz, Germany on Friday. Ottey looks set to be a serious contender to Marion Jones in 1999. There was also a German national indoor record for Stolle in the mens’ pole vault (5.85) as well as national records for Hungary’s Zsuzsa Szabo (4.40) and South Africa’s Elmarie Gerryts (4.10) in the women’s event, won by Germany’s Nicole Rieger Hubert (also 4.40).

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