Athletics: Jackson expected to be ready for Stuttgart: Britons prepare for World Championships after high-class efforts in Zurich

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The Independent Online
COLIN JACKSON'S coach Malcolm Arnold yesterday insisted there was no cause for alarm over the latest untimely injury to befall one of Britain's brightest prospects at the World Championships, which start in eight days' time.

Jackson, who was forced to fly home before Wednesday's 110 metres hurdles in Zurich suffering from a back strain, has delayed flying out to join Linford Christie for training in Monte Carlo until Sunday while he has physiotherapy in Cardiff. 'It doesn't look desperate,' Arnold said. 'The way the events fall in Stuttgart, he's got two weeks. I think there is more than enough time for him.'

Britain's other leading contenders were taking different routes to Stuttgart. While Christie is off to Monte Carlo, Sally Gunnell, who won the 400m hurdles in the fastest time this year, 53.52sec, will prepare in the Swiss town of Zofingen.

'This period will just be the icing on the cake for me,' she said. 'A nice, quiet place, away from the telephone and all other distractions, where I can just top off my preparations. Honestly, I'm in exceptional shape.'

From a British point of view, David Grindley's achievement in finishing second to the world No 1 at 400m, Michael Johnson, and ahead of two Olympic champions and the world record-holder, was one of the outstanding performances of the night.

Having had his racing disrupted by illness and a knee injury, Grindley was nervous about the outcome. Afterwards, despite requiring an ice pack on one of his Achilles tendons, he was a picture of quiet satisfaction. It was a measure of the race's quality that all eight men finished under 45 seconds. 'Michael told he how well his training was going,' Grindley said. 'I told him 'so's mine - so you'd better watch out mate'.' Johnson said: 'He has to be considered a serious threat.'

'This has shown me anything can happen now,' Grindley said. 'It's not so long ago when I thought I couldn't get near them, let alone beat them. Now I know I can. They came up to me and said 'well done' after the race. For the first time, really, they had acknowledged my existence.'

Curtis Robb, a distant last in the 800m, is contemplating a British League appearance tomorrow at 400m for his club Liverpool Harriers. If he does not feel right he will not run in the World Championships. In the meantime, he plans to undergo further blood tests to see if he is still suffering from the viral infection he had earlier this season.

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