Zola Budd, Britain's South African-born running star, ran away from home only weeks before the Los Angeles Olympics, her father is quoted as saying in Sunday People, a London newspaper.
Frank Budd said in an interview that he and her coach searched the streets of the English town of Guildford for hours after the teen-ager ran off when told she couldn't go to a South African-style barbecue. Budd told the paper he found her wandering, distraught, four hours after she had disappeared. Now, he said, she has not spoken to him for four months.
"It was the first time in her life Zola had done anything like that," Budd was quoted as saying. He blamed her coach, Pieter Labuschagne, for causing the incident by refusing her permission to go to the barbecue. And he blamed Labuschagne for the rift with his daughter.
"Pieter wanted to keep Zola entirely to himself. He was jealous of any other influence," Budd said.
The newspaper said Frank Budd no longer speaks to his wife, either, and lives in a converted garage outside the family farm near Bloemfontein. It said that family disputes had mentally and emotionally drained his daughter heading into the Olympics and her ill-fated 3,000 meters.
Zola Budd, after winning the British 1,500-meter indoor title Saturday, said: "My father hasn't anything to do with me at the moment" . . .
Meanwhile, Mary Decker Slaney has gained a dubious distinction as the first woman to win TV Guide's "Mr. Nice Guy" award, given annually to a sports figure for boorish behavior. Decker won for the way she "vilified Budd" following their collision in the 3,000 meters at Los Angeles.
Slaney edged Colts owner Robert Irsay and Reds pitcher Mario Soto for the sardonic title . . .
Another London paper, the Sunday Times, reports that an estimated six out of 10 British track and field athletes take illegal drugs regularly to boost their performance -- a "blackening of Britain's snow-white image in international athletics."
The Times said imported supplies of anabolic steroids, hormones and amphetamines are sold in gymnasiums around Britain. It quoted prominent track and field athletes as to widespread use.
Nigel Cooper, British Amateur Athletic Board secretary, responded: "We have a clean sport. It's all speculation. There are no hard facts to back up the claim. The vast majority do not take drugs" . . .
Lake Braddock junior Cathron Birge ran the fifth-best 300 meters ever recorded for a high school girl, in the trials at the Virginia AAA Northern District indoor meet Saturday at George Mason. Birge's hand-timed 39.2 seconds converts to 39.44 automatic timing, a national best this season; the record is 38.79. Birge took the final in 40.6, two events after she won the 500 meters in 1:19.2.