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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

A Fistfight, Rain and Slow Times In Zurich

ZURICH -- Torrential rain on the track. A torrent of fists off it. There was certainly no shortage of drama at the one-day Weltklasse Grand Prix meet.


Despite a huge downpour which left poor conditions for sprinting Wednesday, Britain's Olympic champion Linford Christie pulled off one of the most startling 100-meter victories of his athletics career and had the crowd chanting his name like soccer supporters.


Then as Christie, 34, was winding down in his hotel room after the excitement of Zurich's richest Grand Prix meeting, two of his opponents -- the American Dennis Mitchell and Nigerian Olapadae Adeniken -- ended the evening in a bloody brawl downstairs in the lobby.


The richest night of athletics seemed to bring out the best and the worst in the world's top sprinters.


Christie, who has struggled with injury this season, was not expected to destroy the American Olympic bronze medalist Mitchell and world record holder Leroy Burrell with so much ease.


Christie had failed to get under 10 seconds this season compared to Burrell's world record of 9.85 and Mitchell's best for the year of 9.94.


But the Briton, who seems to be able to peak when it really matters, dominated the race to win on a wet track in 10.05 seconds.


Michael Johnson of the United States cruised to victory in the 200-meter dash in 20.33 seconds, 0.13 of a second in front of Daniel Effiong of Nigeria.


"In normal conditions it would for sure have been under 20 seconds," said Johnson, the world champion in the 400 meters.


The Algerian Nourredine Morceli won the 5,000 meters in 13:03.85, well off his rival Haile Gebreselasie's world record of 12 minutes 56.96 seconds.


The American Bob Kennedy finished sixth in 13:12.98, well off the American record of 13:01.15.


Although the rain had stopped and the track dried before Morceli's race, the world's top miler and 1500-meter record holder quickly settled to run only for victory.


"Frankly speaking I need more experience over 5,000 meters. Now I am feeling that there are two worlds, to run the mile and to run the 5,000," he said.


Many of the meeting's other top stars looked dejected after their world record bids were ruined by the rain that poured down at the start of the meeting. Christie seemed to be on another planet however.


"To me the sun was shining out there," he said. "It was the biggest race of the season. Everyone was there. It was the Americans' world championship."Adeniken finished third in the race in 10.22 seconds, 0.01 of a second ahead of fourth-placed Mitchell with Burrell back in seventh in 10.39.


The Nigerian Adeniken was due to leave Zurich on Thursday after his fight with Mitchell in the early hours of the morning.


Eyewitnesses said the face of the Nigerian, due to celebrate his 25th birthday Friday, was covered in blood after the two men fought at 2 A.M. in the packed lobby of the Nova Park Hotel.


Hotel security officials had to step in to break up the men and Adeniken went up to his room afterwards with a doctor for treatment on a cut above an eye.


Maybe the pressure of running for so much money had finally got to the sprinters.


Mitchell's defeat put him out of the running for the jackpot of 21 kilogram gold bars available to the winners of specific events at the Golden Four meetings in Oslo, Zurich, Brussels and Berlin.


(Reuters, AP)