Athletics: Jackson again the threat to Christie

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The Independent Online
LINFORD CHRISTIE will again be looking anxiously over his shoulder when he competes in the 60 metres for Great Britain in the McDonald's Indoor International against the United States at Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, today. Not at Andre Cason, Leroy Burrell, or one of the four other Americans ranked among the world's top 10 100-metre runners in 1993, but at Colin Jackson, his training partner, who he beat narrowly in the match against the Russians two weeks ago.

In an event where Britain parade seven of their eight individual world championship medallists, including Sally Gunnell in the 400 metres, America's selectors have been reduced to picking their 15th and 31st ranked sprinters to take on Christie.

Despite claims from the US management that Aaron Thigpen is 'ready to move into the upper echelons', Jackson still appears to be Christie's only real rival. His explosive start will always give him a chance over such a short distance and he led Christie against the Russians, only losing out in the last few strides and being rewarded with a Welsh record of 6.57sec.

Even more disappointing about the weak US team is the fact that Cason and Burrell are currently competing in Europe. In Ghent on Wednesday, Cason and Christie were kept apart - apparently at the American's request - and raced in separate 60-metre events. Christie comfortably came out top on the clock, running 6.5 to Cason's 6.65.

Jackson should be especially buoyant after his performance over 60 metres hurdles in Ghent. By slicing three-hundredths of a second off his own European record and setting figures of 7.38, he moved within striking distance of Greg Foster's world mark of 7.36. But while he has the world silver medallist and team-mate Tony Jarrett to push him, the less responsive Glasgow track is unlikely to yield such a fast time.

The timetable has been rearranged so that Jackson tackles the hurdles first to avoid a repeat of the problem in the last match, when he complained that running the flat event beforehand disrupted his rhythm.

Britain's lack of depth in the field events should ensure a close men's match. In the high jump, though, Steve Smith, fresh from a British record of 2.38 metres in Wuppertal last weekend, and Dalton Grant provide a formidable combination.

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