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Test on Christie implies drug use

Sprinter Linford Christie, a former Olympic champion who at 39 rarely competes, was suspended Wednesday for suspicion of steroid use.

The International Amateur Athletic Federation said his drug test suggested the presence of the steroid nandrolone. The test was taken during a February meet at Dortmund, Germany.

Christie, the 100-meter gold medalist at the 1992 Barcelona Games, said he is "completely innocent" and intends to defend himself against charges.

The IAAF, the world ruling body for track and field, said Christie's sample is not regarded as a positive test.

"We cannot conclude the Christie case has been proved," IAAF spokesman Giorgio Reineri said.

If it is, Christie will receive at least a two-year suspension retroactive to the day after the drug test. Reineri said this case is unusual because Christie no longer competes seriously.

"I have consistently opposed the use of banned substances by athletes and it is ridiculous to imagine that I would take them after my retirement," said Christie, who coaches British sprinters.

"I agree that there should be a full investigation into the numerous cases where metabolites of nandrolone have been found in urine samples to establish how this could happen without the knowledge of the athletes."

Christie's suspension is in force until an investigation is completed. That could take several months, and until then Christie faces scrutiny as he coaches runners for the World Championships.

MORE TRACK: Wilson Kipketer, coming back from a bout with malaria, won the 800-meter race in a season-best 1 minute, 42.57 seconds at the Herculis meet in Monte Carlo. Marion Jones won the 800 by 0.11 seconds over Inger Miller to extend her winning streak to 19. Gabriela Szabo and Bernard Barmasai also won their races to stay in contention for the $1-million Golden League jackpot, shared by the athletes who win the same event in all seven meets during the season.

TENNIS: Lindsay Davenport continued to roll in her home state, defeating Irina Spirlea 6-0, 6-2 in the second round of the TIG Classic in Carlsbad, Calif. Davenport, the world's No. 1 player, has won 17 of her past 18 matches in California. No. 7 Amanda Coetzer defeated Anna Kournikova 6-0, 1-6, 6-1, and Dominique Van Roost beat Ai Sugiyama 6-2, 6-4. Cristina Torrens-Valero became the second seeded player to be ousted from the Sanex Trophy tournament in Knokke, Belgium, losing in the second round to Denisa Chladkova. No. 2 Silvija Talaja, the top seeded player remaining, and sixth-seeded Barbara Rittner advanced. Hicham Arazi upset No. 7 Andrei Medvedev 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Grolsch Open in Amsterdam. The other five seeds in action advanced.

CYCLING: Laurent Jalabert, rated No. 1 in the world, is expected to be released today from a hospital in Madrid where he has been recovering from injuries sustained in a fall during a weekend race. His rate of recovery has heightened his chances of competing in next month's Tour of Spain, his team's director said. After his recovery from cancer and victory in the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong stands to collect endorsements that could be worth as much as $2-million, marketing experts said.

BOXING: Shannon Briggs sizes up Francois Botha as a washed-up fighter. "You're too slow, you have no power," he said. "You can't move your head. You fought all bums your whole career." The heavyweights, doing their best to pump pay-per-view and ticket sales with trash talk, meet in a 10-round non-title fight Saturday in Atlantic City. Botha, the former IBF heavyweight champion, didn't want to hear Briggs' opinions. "It doesn't matter whether you bring all these guys (Briggs' cornermen) in here to scare me. The baddest man on the planet couldn't do it. What makes you think you can?" he said. The bout will be carried on a 9 p.m. pay-per-view telecast by Showtime Event Television.

RUGBY: Former England rugby union captain Lawrence Dallaglio was charged with bringing the game into disrepute after media reports that he used and sold drugs. Dallaglio will face a disciplinary panel to answer the charge that he used recreational drugs during the 1997 British Lions tour of South Africa.

GOLF: Bessie Phillips of Lantana and Suzy Strock of Ponte Vedra Beach won the sixth annual Florida Women's State Four-Ball Championship at Rotunda Country Club, Rotunda West. Phillips, a recent South Florida graduate, and Strock had a two-day better ball of 10-under 134. Low net winners were Phyllis Dell and Nancy O'Toole, both of Bradenton.

TENNIS: Lindsay Davenport defeated Irina Spirlea 6-0, 6-2 in the second round of the TIG Classic in Carlsbad, Calif. No. 7 Amanda Coetzer defeated Anna Kournikova 6-0, 1-6, 6-1, and Dominique Van Roost beat Ai Sugiyama 6-2, 6-4. Steffi Graf strained her left hamstring and was forced to retire from her match against Amy Frazier. Patrick Rafter's title defense began with a 46-minute, 6-0, 6-2 victory over Alex O'Brien at the du Maurier Open in Montreal. Third-seeded Yevgeny Kafelnikov, ninth-seeded Nicolas Kiefer and unseeded Michael Chang advanced. Second-seeded Andre Agassi's match against Richey Reneberg was rained out.

GOLF: Tampa's Whitney Code won in the first round but lost in the second in the U.S. Girls Junior Championship at Green Spring Valley Hunt Club in Owings Mills, Md.

HORSES: Jockey Rudy Baez, perennially the leading rider in New England, sustained career-threatening injuries in a spill during the second race at Rockingham Park in Boston. Baez was conscious and alert after the spill but reportedly said he had lost feeling in his legs. He was listed in serious condition at Massachusetts General Hospital.

_ Compiled from Times wires.