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Saturday, September 2, 2000

Pain in butt for Boswell

High jumper injured, Bailey finishes sixth

  Competing on the European circuit this season often has been a pain in the butt for high jumper Mark Boswell.

 Yesterday, that literally was the problem.

 At the final major competition prior to the Sydney Olympics, Boswell yesterday captured the gold medal at the prestigious ISTAF 2000 meet in Berlin with a leap of 2.32 metres.

 However, the victory came at a significant cost. During his final attempt at 2.36, Boswell pushed too hard during takeoff and injured the old gluteus maximus. The Brampton athlete hurt the muscle and pinched a nerve.

 "There's not much feeling down the (left) side of my leg," Boswell, 23, said from his Berlin hotel. "It's pretty numb."

 Boswell, who won a silver medal at last year's world championships, blamed himself for the injury, saying that he became too aggressive during the run-up to the bar, an example of his inexperience on the Golden League circuit.

 "I should have just kept everything really technical," he said. "Instead, I got too aggressive."

 Toronto chiropractor Mark Lindsay treated the injury last night with acupuncture and Boswell, who has also suffers from chronically sore ankles, believes he'll be healed by Sept. 22, the day the Olympic Games high jump qualification round will be held.

 His biggest concern is travelling from Berlin to Brisbane, Australia, today, a trip that could take up to 30 hours. To make matters worse, the Canadian Olympic Association could not accommodate the high jump star with a more comfortable business- class seat.

 "I'm not one of those big-time sprinters," Boswell said with a laugh. "But that's okay. The COA can only give so much. I have to be lenient and understanding."

 Montreal's Kwaku Boateng, 26, finished sixth yesterday with a jump of 2.25. Boateng will return home for a week before heading to the Canadian track and field team's training camp on Australia's Gold Coast.

 "With God's help, Kwaku and I will both be on the podium," Boswell said. "That would be the greatest bonus after a long, stressful year."

 Speaking of long, stressful years, Oakville sprinter Donovan Bailey finished sixth yesterday in 10.20 seconds, well back of American superstar Maurice Greene, whose 9.86 was the fastest time in the world this year. The victory assured Greene a share of the $1 million US jackpot to be split among the athletes who win five of the seven events in the Golden League series.

 Bailey, 32, has struggled to return to top form after a hamstring injury earlier this year. Yesterday's showing in Berlin was an improvement over his most-recent performances, including a second-place 10.32 on Wednesday in Thessaloniki, Greece.

 Greene got off to a fast start yesterday and won by a good margin over fellow American Jon Drummond, who placed second in 9.96. Tim Montgomery completed the sweep for the U.S., clocking 10.01. Marion Jones of the U.S. won the women's event in 10.78, to match her world best this season.