Chinese coach will miss Olympic trial


CHINESE athletics coach Ma Junren is too sick to attend the national Olympic trials next month, but is still keeping the world guessing about his chances for Atlanta.

Ma told the Nanjing Weekend newspaper he would not be able to go to the event in Nanjing from May 4th to May 8th.

The controversial coach has been treated in a Beijing hospital since last month for severe intestinal problems. He was in hospital for a long time last year with throat cancer.

"It is a shame but I don't think I will be able to make the trip because I do not think I will be recovered in time," Ma said.

The remnants of his army of world beating runners, led by world record holder Qu Junxia will now have to compete for places for Atlanta without him. His other former star Wang Junxia is running a rival team.

Ma has not yet indicated whether he will be fit to go to Atlanta, for which he has been preparing for two years.

Meanwhile, Ismael Kirui, the world 5,000 metres gold medalist, has pulled out of Saturday's, BUPA International 5k road race.

Kirui injured his leg last weekend when he was out sprinted over 12k in Switzerland by fellow Kenyan Paul Tergat.

Liz McColgan will arrive in Portsmouth today after a strenuous training spell. Facing the Scot in the womens 5k race will be European cross country champion Anne Mari Sandell from Finland and four times world cross country silver medalist Catherina McKiernan