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Athletics: Jackson beats off Christie

(First Edition)

COLIN JACKSON yesterday took his last title of the season, pipping Linford Christie to be named Britain's male athlete of the year.

The Welsh hurdler was awarded British athletics' highest accolade for a season which culminated in his gold medal at the World Championships in Stuttgart.

Sally Gunnell, who also broke a world record there, was the unanimous choice of the British Athletics Writers' Association to win the women's award. Last week she was named European woman athlete of the year.

Jackson's triumph came in one of the closest polls for many years, with most finding it difficult to separate him from the 1992 winner, Christie, who only just missed a world record himself in his 100 metres win in Stuttgart.

'I wouldn't have minded if it had been a draw between Linford and myself,' Jackson said, 'but I'm delighted because it caps a great year.'

Last week Christie was voted Europe's top athlete by the European Athletic Association, just ahead of Jackson - but the Cardiff man was preferred in the domestic poll thanks to an incredible season in which he became the first man to record three times under 13 seconds, one of which was his 12.91sec world record time in Stuttgart. Gunnell won the women's award for the second year running after setting a new world record of 52.74sec to take the world 400m hurdles title.

The only Briton to beat Gunnell last season, 19-year-old Katharine Merry, was voted top junior woman and Guy Bullock, the 17-year-old tipped to emulate his training partner, David Grindley, won the junior men's award