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  • Saturday, August 28, 1999

    Canadian relay team disqualified

     SEVILLE, Spain (CP-AP) -- The Canadian men's 4x100 relay team saw its hopes for a third straight world title die on Saturday after it was disqualified for passing the baton out of the zone at the world track and field championships.
     Glenroy Gilbert of Ottawa, running the second leg, was late making the handoff to Trevino Betty of London, Ont., and was unable to complete the exchange in the transition zone.
     "It can be argued. . . but it looked like we just went across," said Gilbert, while Betty, who was running in his first major international competition, refused to talk to the media.
     Anchor man Bruny Surin of Montreal brought Canada home in third place behind the U.S. and Poland with a good chance of qualifying for today's final. But judges quickly dashed Canada's hopes, ruling they had stepped out of their lane.
     Canada filed an appeal which was later rejected.
     The fumbled exchange realized the team's worst fears.
     After several training sessions and private meetings, the team decided on a lineup which had Olympic gold medallist Donovan Bailey running the leadoff leg instead of his usual anchor.
     Coaches reluctantly accepted the revamped order, concerned the change would upset the teamwork that won Canada world gold 1995 and 1997 and again at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.
     Bailey, who is making a slow recovery from a torn Achilles tendon last September, was reportedly less than pleased with the switch.
     "We made a decision and it didn't work," said Gilbert. "You can draw your own conclusion (about the change of order)."
     Discussion on the makeup of the squad mounted after Surin ran the third-fastest 100-metre time ever, a blistering 9.84 seconds, on way to his silver.
     Surin indicated to coaches and teammates that performance had earned him the right to run the more glamorous anchor leg.
     "I'm mad, I'm disappointed," said Bailey. "Trevino was going fast . . . the world championships probably weren't the place to test him.
     "A whole lot of people will be second-guessing."
     The U.S. squad, anchored by 100- and 200-metre champion Maurice Green, posted a time of 38.06 which is the fastest by any country this year.
     Running in the No. 7 lane beside the Canadians, the Americans redeemed themselves after disqualifications the last two world championships for dropping the baton.
     Greene had little sympathy for his Canadian rivals.
     "I'm sad it happened but we'll have enough fun for them," said Greene.
     With the Canadian men's and women's 4x400 teams also failing to advance, the women's 4x100 team salvaged the day by qualifying seventh for today's finals.
     Martha Adusei of Brampton, Ont., Philomena Mensah of Surrey, B.C., Venolyn Clark of Oshawa, Ont., and Tara Perry of Coquitlam B.C., finished third in their heat in a time of 43.27 behind the Bahamas and Germany.
     The American women posted the fastest time in 42.28 seconds.
     The most popular winner on Saturday was Spanish marathoner Abel Anton, who overcame 36-degree heat to win the gold medal in two hours 13 minutes and 36 seconds.
     As Anton entered the stadium for the final lap, he raised his hands and blew kisses to the crowd of 52,273. The fans responded with chants of "Ole, Ole."
     Anton said he was helped -- not just by the screaming fans in the stadium -- but by the entire city.
     "All of Seville was in the street supporting me," he said "I think there were around 200,000 people." Police estimates were at 100,000.
     Two medical miracles won medals in the women's 100-metre hurdles. Gail Devers, who has overcome Graves' Disease (an overactive thyroid gland), took the gold and Sweden's Ludmila Engquist, currently in the middle of chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer, was third.
     Devers set an American record in 12.37 seconds and Engquist finished in 12.47, just behind Glory Alozie of Nigeria in 12.44.
     In Saturday's other finals, Cuba's Ivan Pedroso, the four-time world indoor champion in the men's long jump, won his third outdoor title at 8.56 metres; Morocco's Salah Hissou set a championship record in winning the men's 5,000 in 12:58.13, and Greece's Mirela Manjani-Tzelili took the women's javelin with a season's best 67 metres.

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