LONDON - All Black winger Jonah Lomu was pipped on the line yesterday by former British sprint ace Linford Christie in a 50m dash to promote the Manchester Commonwealth Games.

Lomu said he hoped to return to Manchester in July, when New Zealand will try to retain their sevens title.

"Winning the gold medal at the last Games in Kuala Lumpur was one of the most emotional nights of my life," he said.

"I am sure the Games in Manchester will be an exciting and spectacular event. I'll be counting down the days.

"I would love to be here next year, but I've got to be selected to play, and that's very much in the hands of the selectors.

"There is a lot of rugby to be played between now and July, and I just hope I can steer clear of injuries."

Former Olympic 100m champion Christie made a winning return to the track in the fun run against the 119kg Lomu.

Lomu ran him close on a specially laid track.

Lomu was a useful athlete at Wesley College in Paerata, south of Auckland.

He has a personal best of 10.8s for the 100m.

Christie, one of the fastest sprinters the world has seen, last raced two years ago during the indoor season.

They were neck and neck until the last few strides, when Christie pulled away. His prize was the first two official tickets to the Games.

The event was one of several planned over the next few weeks to promote the Games, the first in Britain since 1986 in Edinburgh.

- NZPA