Athletics: Jackson agrees to run in Sheffield

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The Independent Online
Athletics

MIKE ROWBOTTOM

Colin Jackson confirmed yesterday that he will be running at Sheffield on Sunday in order to demonstrate his fitness for next month's World Championships.

The world 110 metres hurdles champion, who angered the British Athletic Federation by competing in Padua last Sunday less than 24 hours after dropping out of the national trials with injury, announced on Monday that he was not going to compete in any further races before defending his title. After a meeting with the BAF's chief executive, Peter Radford, Jackson agreed to run again within the time limit of this Sunday, which was specified by the British selectors.

Unlike his Nuff Respect colleagues Linford Christie and John Regis, who are now contracted to run the remaining three televised British meetings, Jackson settled his pay dispute with a deal that applied event by event. Despite this intended flexibility, Jackson was told that if he was going to run anywhere by Sunday, it should be at the Bupa International in Sheffield, rather than a minor meeting on the Continent, Sunday's Welsh championships, or tonight's Oslo grand prix.

Christie, who pulled out of the Padua meeting, will compete in Norway tonight in the 100m. He returned from Munich yesterday after treatment for a hamstring problem, which involved injections in his back and manipulation. "He is still not 100 per cent," said his agent, Sue Barrett, yesterday. However, he is sufficiently recovered to run in Oslo and Sheffield within the space of three days - on both occasions against the fastest 100m runner in the world this season, Donovan Bailey.

The 27-year-old Canadian clocked 9.91sec in winning the national trials last weekend. The man who came second in 9.97, Bruny Surin, also runs in Oslo, as does America's world bronze medallist, Dennis Mitchell, and Britain's Darren Braithwaite.

"I admire what Linford has done over the years," Bailey said. "He has reached the top and stayed there. He is the man with the world title and he's certainly not dead yet. But he certainly doesn't intimidate me."

Steve Backley, the European and Commonwealth javelin champion who was one of 13 Britons required to prove fitness by the World Championships selectors after missing the trials, resumes his rivalry with the world record holder, Jan Zelezny, and the European Cup winner, Raymond Hecht. In the high jump, Steve Smith, who recorded 2.35m last weekend, faces a top class field which includes the Olympic champion, Javier Sotomayor.

It will also be a big night for Britain's European Cup 400m champion, Mark Richardson, who measures himself against the world champion, Michael Johnson, and world record holder, Butch Reynolds.

Fifty two world records have been set at the Bislett Stadium since it opened in 1924, and the promoter, Svein-Arne Hansen, is hoping that the 30th meet will provide another - perhaps in the 5,000m or the steeplechase, in which the 5,000m world record holder, Moses Kiptanui, will attempt to beat his own mark of 8min 02.08sec.

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