Linford Christie back in town for Street Athletics event

RUBBING SHOULDERS WITH A LEGEND -- youngsters meet Linford Christie at last year's Street Athletics event in Sutton.
RUBBING SHOULDERS WITH A LEGEND -- youngsters meet Linford Christie at last year's Street Athletics event in Sutton.
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Olympic legend Linford Christie is back in Ashfield by popular demand on Saturday to present the Street Athletics event in Sutton town centre.

Street Athletics, which is part of the 2015 Active Ashfield Games, invites youngsters to race against each other over a 60-metre distance.

It was a big hit last year when Christie, gold medallist at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, was the star attraction, so large crowds are expected again.

The Ashfield District Council event, which starts at 11 am, also includes free attractions, such as a climbing wall and a circus workshop. It is combined with a plant and craft fair taking place on Portland Square.

“The event will bring a buzz to the town centre and give youngsters of all ages and abilities the chance to have a go at athletics in an informal setting with an Olympic legend,” said Coun Jim Aspinall (Lab), who is the council’s portfolio holder for health and wellbeing.

Christie, who is now 55, is regarded as the greatest sprinter Britain produced. Although his career ended in controversy when he was banned for testing positive for drugs in 1999, he won 23 major championship medals, including ten golds, plus 26 national titles.

In an international career that spanned 17 years, he competed more than 60 times for his country. A year after his Olympics gold, he was crowned world champion at Stuttgart.

To take part in Street Athletics, no running experience is necessary. Races will be split into four age-group categories -- under-10s, under-17s, under-15s and under-13s -- for boys and girls. The winners will be invited to compete in a national final.

Registration will take place on Fox Street between 12 midday and 1 pm. The races will be run between 1 pm and 3 pm.

Fox Street will be closed to traffic from 11 am, although taxis will still be available along Forest Street and in the car park at Iceland.