Filbert Bayi arrived in New York yesterday afternoon, restoring the appetites of the promoters of tonight's Millrose Games and burying some intriguing international rumors.
When Bayi failed to appear as scheduled on Wednesday, unconfirmed explanations developed that ranged from a skyjacking to the impoundment of all East African Airways planes by Kenya.However, it developed that Bayi and Tanzanian teammates Suleiman Nyambui and Richard Juma had merely spent the night in Paris before continuing their long journey.
Bayi will run in the Wanamaker Mile in his first North American appearance since he was withdrawn from the Montreal Olympic as the first shot of what eventually became an almost total African boycott.
John Walker, the New Zealander who won the Olympic 1,500 meters, begins his North American tour Feb. 4 in Los Angeles. Walker will be here until Feb. 19 and Bayi until Feb. 25, but no confrontation has been scheduled because Tanzania still objects to athletic participation against New Zealand.
Adrian Paulen, president of the International Amateur Athletics Federation, recently stated in Washington that African sports leaders had told him the boycott was over. Reports emanating from the recent Central Council of African Sports meeting in Burundi confirmed this, so Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere apparently is pursuing an independent course in the matter.
Bayi's race against Paul Cummings, Eamonn Coghlan, Marty Liquori and Wilson Waigwa is the highlight of the Madison Square Garden meet that lists 53 Olympians among its entries.
Olympic 200-meter champion Don Quarrie of Jamaica battles Houston McTear, Steve Riddick and Harvey Glance in the 60.
Willie Davenport goest after his fifth Millrose title in the 60-yard high hurdles, Fred Sowerby defends his 600 crown againt James Robinson, Dwight Stones will try the new-shoe route to 7-7 in the high jump and Olympic silver medalist Antti Kalliomaki of Finland joins Dan Ripley, Earl Bell and Mike Tully in the pole vault assault on 18-4.
Robin Campbell attempts a 440-880 double, with Sheila Ingram the bests of the quarter opposition and Lorna Forde taking up the challenge in the half. Jan Merrill and Francie Larrie Lutz resume their rivalry at 1,500 meters and Paula Girven tackles Joni Huntley and three Canadians in the high jump.
Gerogetown challenges Villanova in the featured two-mile relay, while Maryland, Catholic, Howard, the D.C. Striders and Federal City have also entered relay units.