THE magic carpet on which Carl Lewis flew to a world 100 metres record

in Tokyo this year may be grounded -- but Lewis's record on it allowed

to stand, possibly putting it out of reach for decades, like Bob

Beamon's long-jump mark.

When Lewis led a record six men under 10.00sec., setting a world best

of 9.86 at the world championships, it was on a new, hard surface which

technical officials of the world governing body, the International

Amateur Athletic Federation, had already ruled did not match their

performance specification.

A letter from the IAAF's honorary technical consultant, Tony

Rottenberg, in the magazine Athletics Today, says the IAAF will not

certify future tracks whose surfaces fail to conform, and says this

could affect future world records.

Olympic organisers are already investigating the possibility of the

Tokyo surface being laid in Barcelona for next year. The IAAF's chief

technical official, Mike Gee, was unavailable yesterday to say whether

that would be allowed. Rottenberg's comments suggest not.

Gee has a meeting today in Stuttgart, where that issue is likely to be

discussed. But if the magic carpet is banned it means future

world-record attempts will be disadvantaged -- having to be on a slower


If the IAAF are not prepared to sanction the surface, they should axe

the Tokyo time. Records should compare like with like. Already sprint

ranking lists carry * against altitude times, and W against

wind-assisted ones. Will they now have MC for magic carpet? It is worth

recording that other sprint times at the world championships did not

reflect those in the 100m -- although Beamon's long-jump record was


''There is no question of the 100m record being de-ratified,'' said

IAAF spokesman Mark Butler yesterday. ''But this new surface is giving

cause for concern.''

* THE Scottish Cross Country Union has been judged guilty of denying

natural justice to Colin Shields, author of their centenary history.

Shields spent nearly 1500 hours researching, writing, and proof

correcting ''Whatever the Weather,'' while his wife spent 500 hours

helping, at their own expense, although a #500 honorarium eventually was


But the book ran to nearly double the agreed length and cost, leaving

the SCCU with a bill in excess of #10,000. Shields, a lifelong supporter

of athletics and a former president of the SAAA, was suspended for

withholding details of the overspend.

He insists that until the final computer discs were run it was

impossible to tell how long the book would be, and therefore the costs.

When the typesetting was completed the bulk of costs had been incurred.

Incensed, he took legal advice, and has just heard that his appeal has

been upheld, with a recommendation that the suspension be quashed,

serious criticism of the SCCU disciplinary procedures, and an attack on

their constitution.

The three-man appeal panel was independently chaired by Robert Carr

WS, from a leading Edinburgh legal firm recommended by the Scottish

Sports Council. The other two members were from the sport.

In a nine-page judgment Carr ruled that Shields was denied natural

justice on several counts, including the right of representation, and

the right to call and question witnesses.

''We have unanimously reached the view that the principles of natural

justice were fundamentally flouted,'' wrote Carr. He accepted that the

SCCU had ''acted in good faith,'' but added: ''We do not think, given

the views which they have already reached on this matter, that it would

be possible to remit the matter back to them. We have reached the view

that Mr Shields' suspension should be quashed, and he should be

reinstated as a member.''

He added: ''We unanimously take the view that the constitution of the

SCCU requires immediate revision . . . for the protection of the sport

and its members.''

Shields' club, Greenock Glenpark, want him restored as their

representative on the SCCU West District committee, and for his name to

be restored to the list of those available to officiate at events.

Shields is inquiring about claiming legal costs. ''But even if I

cannot,'' he said, ''it will have been worth every penny to clear my


* A VIDEO shot at the national relay championships by Cambuslang

member Bob Burt shows no evidence of an alleged V sign from national

cross-country champion Tom Hanlon. The footage terminates as Hanlon

crossed the line, but Burt, whose club was edged out by Hanlon, said:

''I was right at the finish, and saw no V sign.''

* EIGHT hours a day of abuse from employment benefit claimants and

Britain's miserable climate have driven Scottish internationalist Karen

Hutcheson abroad.

The 26-year-old Dunfermline woman, based for several years with her

boyfriend and coach, Alan Hargrave, in Mansfield, is emigrating to the

Vendee in France where she plans to train full time for the Olympics.

Hutcheson, fourth in the Commonwealth 3000 metres, said: ''The benefit

office is supposed to be non-smoking, but I'm asthmatic, and I'm always

having trouble with claimants. I frequently get verbal abuse -- it's

been constant this week -- and while I never have been assaulted while

out training, there is always a first time.''