Athletics: Jackson decision angers Radford

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The Independent Online


Britain's main athletics administrator last night delivered an astonishing rebuke to his World Championship selectors which threatens to plunge the sport into a costly internal battle.

Peter Radford, executive chairman of the British Athletic Federation, declared that the selectors were wrong to name Colin Jackson in the team after he had pulled out of the national trials on Saturday with a reported groin injury and run in Italy the following day.

Relations between the federation and several elite athletes have been at breaking point during this season's recently settled dispute over appearance money. Now the federation itself appears to be fragmenting.

And there may be more trouble given Jackson's announcement yesterday that he would not meet the selectors' demand to prove his "competitive fitness" for next month's championships. The world 110 metres hurdles champion was one of 13 athletes, including Roger Black, Jonathan Edwards and Steve Backley, who were told to find further competition before the closing date for entries of 26 July.

Radford, who will demand an explanation from Jackson this week, said: "The selectors have made what I believe to be some questionable decisions. I do not believe these decisions are correct. Nor do I believe it is in the best interests of the sport, or the other athletes, to select those who do not compete fully in the trials and whose fitness is still, so obviously, an issue.

"I could understand the selectors leaving spaces for athletes whom they may wish to pick later. I do not, however, agree that they should be named as selected at this stage."

Radford, who was clearly deeply angry on Sunday upon hearing that Jackson had competed - and won - a high hurdles race in Padua, is urging the federation to undertake a fundamental review of selection criteria "as soon as possible".

David Cropper, chairman of selectors, said: "We certainly can't endorse Colin's action. But it is not for the selectors to consider any disciplinary action. We have to tighten up policy, but I will take a lot of convincing that it is dramatically out of line."

Jackson rejected Radford's criticism that he had sold the sport short. He also reacted with bafflement to the statement by his coach, Malcolm Arnold, who is Britain's chief coach, that he had said he was returning home to Cardiff from Birmingham.

"I'm disappointed with what has happened," Jackson said yesterday. "The BAF know my situation. I have been ill all year. I have had to pick my races carefully.

"While I was happy to win, I am concerned with the continued injury problem and have decided to withdraw from any further competitions before the World Championships to concentrate fully on defending my title.

"I was always going to do the run in Padua with Linford. I can't really see what the whole fuss is about. I was treated in Birmingham and that is why I went to Padua, to try it out. I didn't see anybody from the BAF because they were in the VIP area and making sure the sponsors were kept happy.

"My masseur, Mark Zambada, had a chat to Malcolm Arnold and told him exactly what was going on. If he thought I was going back to Wales to have treatment then the wires got crossed somewhere.

"My honest opinion is that I should be the one who decides my destiny and not have to answer to too many people along the way. This is another example of what is happening between BAF and the athletes. I don't really know why because we aren't unreasonable fellows."

Linford Christie had his request for a 100 and 200m double in Gothenburg granted despite being treated in Munich this week for a sore tendon behind the knee. Sally Gunnell, who has given up the idea of defending her 400m hurdles title because of an Achilles tendon injury, may run the 400m flat and relay. She is due to compete at Sheffield on Sunday, as is Roger Black. Jonathan Edwards, who has been suffering from an ankle injury, is doing the triple jump at a meeting in Salamanca tonight.

in turmoil, page 22

MEN: 100m: D Braithwaite (Haringey), L Christie (Thames Valley), *J John (Newham).

200m: Christie, J Regis (Belgrave), S Wariso (Haringey). 400m: M Richardson (Windsor), *R Black (Team Solent). 800m: C Robb (Liverpool). 1500m: J Mayock (Cannock), G Lough (Annadale). 5,000m: R Denmark (Basildon), J Nuttall (Preston), *A Passey (Bromsgrove). 10,000m: P Evans (Belgrave). 110m hurdles: N Owen (Belgrave), T Jarrett (Haringey), *C Jackson (Brecon). 400m hurdles: G Cadogan (Haringey), G Jennings (Newham), *P Crampton (Spenborough). 3,000m steeplechase: S Duval (Cannock), J Chaston (Belgrave), K Cullen (Chelmsford). Marathon: R Nerurkar (Bingley), M Hudspith (Morpeth), P Whitehead (Syrac). 4x100m relay: Christie, Braithwaite, Regis, Wariso, *John. 4x400m relay: Richardson, A Patrick (Windsor), M Hylton (Windsor), *Black, *D Ladejo (Belgrave), *I Thomas (Newham). High jump: S Smith (Liverpool), D Grant (Haringey). Long jump: F Salle (Belgrave). Triple jump: F Agyepong (Shaftesbury), *J Edwards (Gateshead). Pole vault: N Buckfield (Crawley). Discus: R Weir (Birchfield). Javelin: M Hill (Leeds), *S Backley (Cambridge). Hammer: P Vivian (Thames Valley). Decathlon: A Kruger (Border). 20km walk: D Stone (Steyning). 50km walk: L Morton (Sheffield)

WOMEN: 100m: P Thomas (Trafford), S Douglas (Sale), S Jacobs (Shaftesbury). 200m: Thomas. 400m: M Neef (Glasgow). 800m: K Holmes (Ealing). 1500m: Holmes. 5,000m: P Radcliffe (Bedford), A Wyeth (Parkside). 10,000m: L McColgan (Dundee), J Hunter (Valli), Y Murray (Motherwell). 100m hurdles: *J Agyepong (Shaftesbury). Marathon: A Rose (Edinburgh WM), T Thomson (Pitreavie). 4x100m relay: Douglas, Jacobs, Thomas, C Murphy (Shaftesbury), M Richardson (Slough), S Smith (Hallamshire). 4x400m relay: Neef, L Hanson (Birchfield), G Oladapo (Hounslow), S Llewellyn (Shaftesbury), *S Gunnell (Essex), *S Tunaley. High jump: L Haggett (Croydon). Triple jump: M Griffith (Windsor), *A Hansen (Shaftesbury). Shot: J Oakes (Croydon). Discus: J McKernan (Lisburn). Heptathlon: D Lewis (Birchfield). 10,000m walk: L Langford (Wolverhampton). (*subject to fitness)