Athletics: Jackson rises to record attempt

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN'S sprint relay team, who have unexpectedly regained the services of John Regis, will not be able to call upon Colin Jackson. The world 110 metres hurdles champion, who begins the defence of his European title today, took his decision last week with a busy forthcoming schedule - which includes a world record attempt in Zurich and the Commonwealth Games - in mind.

'I had a bit of a problem in the Goodwill Games,' he said. 'My thigh was a bit tight and when I try to run flat out I feel it a bit.'

With Regis, whose Achilles tendon has responded sufficiently to treatment for him to arrive here today, the chances of Britain winning the relay still look good. As Linford Christie said earlier this week, Regis is currently the best bend runner in the world.

But Christie's hope that the sprint relay team were capable of a world record now looks misplaced. Jackson's chances of improving on his own mark of 12.91sec are looking more likely, especially since he ran 12.94sec in Sestriere at the end of last month, albeit with the benefit of wind assistance and altitude.

This week, however, Jackson will be involved in one of the most competitive events of the championships, as the three leading high hurdlers of the moment - himself, Mark McKoy and his fellow Briton Tony Jarrett - are all Europeans. In the case of the Olympic champion, McKoy, that status is newly won, as he has just become a native of Austria. McKoy is carrying a groin injury similar to the one which caused Jackson to pull out of last month's Crystal Palace grand prix.

Jackson has spent the last few days working on technical points, and he will devote himself to that area again next winter, when he plans to run only three or four indoor races which will not include the World Indoor Championships. Jackson against Jarrett should make for a competitive domestic confrontation in tomorrow night's final. There is another tonight, as Roger Black, seeking an unprecedented third European 400m title, takes on Du'Aine Ladejo, Britain's European indoor champion, having both won their respective semi-finals with ease.