athletics: Jackson injured as Regis revs up

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The Independent Online
Colin Jackson's indoor season ended in an anti-climax yesterday as a hamstring injury incurred in a heat at the Karlsruhe meeting forced him to pull out of the 60 metres hurdles final. Jackson, who leaves for warm- weather training in Australia on Thursday, then watched Allen Johnson, who ended his sequence of 44 victories last Thursday, win in 7.37sec, the fastest time in the world this year.

The American's time took 0.02sec off the time Jackson had recorded the previous day in winning the 60m hurdles at the Interflora international against France at Glasgow.

John Regis, who won his 200m in 20.67sec, is preparing himself for three key events in what is his first proper indoor season since 1989 - the Livin meeting in France next Sunday, Birmingham's meeting on 25 February and next month's World Indoor Championships. The world record of 20.36sec could be in danger on each occasion.

At Livin, Regis will race on the track where he set the British record he bettered last week, against a field which is likely to include the man who has beaten him to the world and Commonwealth titles in successive years, Frankie Fredericks.

"Frankie ran 20.38 there last year," Regis said. "When you get people of that calibre running together in a situation where nobody wants to lose, you are not talking about taking a couple of hundredths off the record, you are talking about smashing it wide open. Depending on the track, that time could come down to 20.20.''

Regis puts his early season success down to the fact that he is concentrating on the indoor season for the first time in five years. Part of the motivation for that has stemmed from a desire to prove himself anew after an Achilles injury ruined last summer. "After that, I wanted to come indoors and basically just dominate and destroy all comers," he said.

He is likely to face Fredericks again in Birmingham, and possibly Linford Christie, too. The world and Olympic 100m champion, barely satisfied with a 60m victory in 6.57sec in what was his first domestic event of the season, said he would be doing more 200m races this year.

Solomon Wariso, back in the international team after his doping suspension, ran himself into the ground with a 400m relay split of 45.09sec - impressive enough outside, never mind on a steeply banked 200m track which he negotiated for much of the time in lane two. Happily, he had recovered from dehydration and an enforced stopover in a Glasgow hotel. There remains the tantalising question of what he might be capable of in 400m running.

The national coach, Malcolm Arnold, described his performance as "bloody awesome". Brian Whittle, who anchored the team to victory, had warned Wariso not to overtake anyone on the first of his two laps - advice which Wariso spectacularly ignored. "He's nuts," Whittle said as he viewed Wariso's prostrate form. "But he's got bottle.''

n Moses Kiptanui lowered his own world 3,000m indoor record to 7min 35.13sec in Ghent. The Kenyan set the previous mark of 7:37.31 in 1992. Another world indoor mark was improved on Saturday as Michael Johnson, the world 400m champion, became the first man to run an indoor 400m in less than 45 seconds with a time of 44.97sec.