Sebastian Coe said Monday that he he has a heavy cold and fever and won't be able to run in a 3,000-meter race Friday night in The Times/GTE indoor games at the Forum.
Coe, the two-time British Olympic gold medalist in the 1,500 meters, made his American indoor debut Saturday night in the U.S. Olympic Invitational meet at the Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, N.J.
He dropped out of the race with two laps remaining as Brian Abshire went on to win the American record time of 7 minutes 41.57 seconds.
Coe, who has been training in Tampa, Fla., said he has not been feeling 100% since last Wednesday, but decided to run at the Meadowlands anyway.
"It's disappointing, but I wouldn't be giving myself a fair chance to redeem myself," Coe said, referring to The Times meet. "I'm just not in shape to run respectably and it would be silly to push on."
Coe said that if he had felt better, he believed he was capable of running in the 7:50 range in the 3,000 Saturday night.
"But I wasn't ready for a record run," he added.
Coe, the world record-holder at 800 and 1,000 meters, has been training in Tampa the past month. He came to the United States primarily for training purposes and to escape from the severe winter weather in England.
He said he plans to spend two more weeks in Florida training once he recovers from his cold.
Will Kern, The Times director of special events, was asked if there will be any refunds for tickets already purchased for the meet since Coe is unable to compete.
"The ticket says charity event with no refunds," Kern said. "I would have to confer with Tom Johnson (Times publisher) and James Boswell (Times vice president of employee and public relations)."
Even though Coe won't be in the field, the 3,000 race has attracted some world-class athletes, namely Ireland's Frank O'Mara and Paul Donovan, who finished 1-2 in the World Indoor Championships last year at Indianapolis; Doug Padilla, the former American record-holder; Ireland's Ray Flynn and Steve Scott, the U.S. indoor record-holder in the mile.
There will be 24 Grand Prix events in The Times meet. No other U.S. indoor meet has more than 18.