ATHLETICS : Jackson out of Europa Cup

Britain's Europa Cup prospects in Lille this weekend were dealt two untimely blows yesterday when Colin Jackson withdrew because of tonsillitis and Yvonne Murray pulled out with knee problems.

Tony Jarrett, the ideal 110 metres hurdles deputy for Jackson, is unable to oblige because he is carrying an injury, so Britain have named Wolverhampton's Andy Tulloch.

It is a particularly demoralising development for the women's team as Murray, the 30-year-old Commonwealth 10,000m champion, had been named as captain in place of Sally Gunnell, who has an achilles tendon injury.

Jackson, who missed last season's Europa Cup in Birmingham with hamstring trouble and the World Cup at Crystal Palace with a stomach bug, made his decision immediately after winning in Madrid on Tuesday night.

He had been feeling poorly for the past week, during which time he lost twice in Germany, but had thought it was a summer cold. His doctor has now advised him to rest and he is likely to miss grand prix meetings in Helsinki on 28 June and Paris on 3 July.

"He was very keen to do this one," Arnold said. "But it seems there are the usual early-season problems for us."

Britain are now missing two of their three world champions in Lille and will not hear whether they can call on the third, Linford Christie, until after he has attended his mother's funeral tomorrow.

Darren Braithwaite, the nominated reserve for Christie at 100m and 200m, is standing by. Braithwaite, who will be travelling with the team as part of the sprint relay squad, ran 10.18sec for 100m and 20.56 for 200m at Madrid on Friday. "I am in great shape," he said yesterday. "I would love to run at either distance."

Verona Elder, the team manager, said yesterday that Christie had told the Federation he would be joining the team in Lille on Friday night. Christie's name was on the confirmed team list which she received from the Federation yesterday afternoon.

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