INDIANAPOLIS, AUG. 8 -- Some of the United States' biggest female track stars are here to compete in the Pan American Games, but several indicated today they are only using these next two weeks as a warmup for the world championships next month in Rome.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee, a silver medalist in the heptathlon at the 1984 Olympic Games, is only competing in the long jump here, more or less to save herself for stiffer competition next month. "I'm not saying that the competition here won't be good," she said. "But when I go to Rome next month I want to be ready for the Eastern Bloc countries {in both events}."

Judi Brown-King, a 400-meter hurdler, said she was using the Pan Ams to "experiment" and work out any possible kinks for a run at the world championships. And Valerie Brisco, who won three gold medals at the 1984 Summer Games, said, "The only place now where you can see all the top people compete against each other, at least in track and field, is at the world championships. At least you don't have to worry about a boycott and a lot of political things."

Pan Am track officials are determined that there won't be a repeat of the 1984 Olympic women's marathon incident when Gabriel Andersen-Scheiss staggered to the finish line nearly unconscious from exhaustion. Track officials here have been instructed to literally pull any contestant from the track if she looks to be in trouble, including the leaders.

The U.S. men's basketball team -- perhaps the most dominant team in any sport here -- continues to try to convince anyone who will listen that the rest of the world has nearly caught up in amateur basketball. Principals point to last year's loss to Argentina and a narrow, one-point victory over Puerto Rico in the world championships.

But not many people seem to be paying attention. Only 3,600 tickets have been sold for Monday's match between the U.S. and Panama and even fewer have been sold for Tuesday's rematch with Argentina. Only the gold medal game has been sold out.

After pitching a three-hitter to beat the powerful Cuban team in Havana on July 19, winning pitcher Jim Abbott was given an affectionate cuffing on the head by Fidel Castro. Abbott, a junior-to-be at the University of Michigan, said today that Castro reminded him of "another strong dictator type: Bo Schembechler."

A news conference called by a group of anti-Castro Cuban-Americans developed into a shouting match Friday between members of the group and the Cuban press. Several of the Cuban reporters challenged some of the statements made by representatives of the Cuban-American National Foundation, which is based in Washington, D.C.