Athletics: Golden double for Jackson

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The Independent Online
COLIN JACKSON yesterday became the first man to win both sprint and sprint-hurdles at a major international championships as he added the European indoor 60 metres hurdles title to the one he had taken over 60m flat on Friday night.

Jackson, who set a world record of 7.30sec at this event less than a week ago, did not need to be as fast against a field which was not in his class. He finished well clear in 7.41sec - 0.02sec slower than his semi-final time - with the silver medallist, Gorghi Boroi, of Romania, recording 7.57.

The 27-year-old Welshman had reasoned beforehand that even if he lost a tenth of a second through fatigue after the 60 metres, he would still win. How right he was.

'It was better to be safe than sorry out there,' Jackson said. 'There was a title to be won. I set myself quite a goal and I have achieved it. It wouldn't have been much of a challenge if I hadn't done both events.'

He remained adamant that he would not be attempting the 100m this summer, but did not rule out the possibility of attempting a similar double at next year's World Indoor Championships. 'If Linford goes, I'll definitely be going for it,' he said with a grin.

Jackson's achievement makes him fit for comparison with the only other athlete who has combined excellence in sprints and sprint-hurdles at the highest level, Harrison Dillard, Olympic champion at 100m and 110m hurdles in 1948 and 1952 respectively.

Jackson, who will seek an Olympic title two years from now in Atlanta, sees his present pre-eminence as part of a progression. 'I have run 7.38 three times this season, and 7.36 once,' he said. 'That is the way you do it. You create a consistent level of performance, and then you can go into the realms where nobody has ever gone before. I have the same attitude to racing as Linford Christie. I keep trying to run the perfect race.'

He has been getting close in the past year. The reason, as he sees it, is straightforward. 'In the past I kept getting injured, which meant I was not able to get the base I really wanted. But for the past two seasons I haven't been.'

David Strang, the American-based Scot who won a silver medal at last year's world indoor championships, made out a powerful statement of intent as he moved easily through today's 1500m final.

Afterwards he was sick. Not a worrying factor, apparently. 'I'm always sick after big races,' he said.

More worrying for him is what might happen when he flies back to Washington. At the moment, Strang does not have a Green Card and he has put his lawyer on stand-by in case there is any local difficulty with the immigration officials. It is a short-term problem, however. 'I'm getting married in September,' he said. 'That will take care of it.'

Martin Steele, another of the strongest British contenders here, could not match Strang.

The second fastest 800m runner in the world last season and apparently in splendid form this year, he was knocked out of the semi-final. After a bumpy ride, he appeared to have placed himself for second behind the German Nico Motchebon, a bronze medallist at the world indoor championships. But Steele ran out of energy in the final 50 metres and three other runners came past him.

In the 400m semi-finals there were mixed fortunes for Britain. Jamie Baulch, the 20- year-old who has taken up the event this year, took second place in his race but Mark Richardson, only a year older, was eliminated from the first semi- final following a collision on the run-in with the Fabio Grossi of Italy. Ahead of him, Du'Aine Ladejo left nothing to chance as he won in a personal best of 46.26 sec.

In the women's 60m, Nelli Cooman-Fiore, the effervescent 30-year-old Dutch runner, showed that she still has the stuff which has brought her this title four times, winning in 7.17sec.

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