Athletics: Jackson seeks fitting finale

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The Independent Online
THERE has been plenty of time for Colin Jackson, who completes his season here in the World Cup tomorrow, to reflect upon its lowest point. His failure to finish higher than seventh in the Olympic 110 metres hurdles final, where a rib cartilage injury affected his technique, brought back even unhappier memories of the previous year's world championships, where he had to scratch after pulling a muscle before the semi-final.

'I was mad in Barcelona,' he said. 'I thought 'Why me again? Why now?' If I thought that it was the pressure that had got to me it would be something I could deal with. I could change my programme next year and go to places where the pressure would be on me and get it right next time. But it was not the pressure, it was injury.

'I knew something was wrong when I woke up and my rib cage was stiff. It affected my trail leg and I was compensating for that when I started hitting the hurdles.

'If it had been the last race of the season I would have been really upset. But I have been able to come back and do other races so I don't feel quite so bad about it.'

Since the Barcelona debacle, he has beaten all his major rivals, including his lodger, Mark McKoy, the Olympic gold medallist, running consistently fast. He looks likely to finish on a high against a field where the main opposition looks like coming from Tony Dees, the US Olympic silver medallist.

Thereafter he plans to join Linford Christie and his coach Ron Roddan on a training trip to Australia, where he will prepare for the world indoor championships in March.

'The worlds are in Mark's home town of Toronto, so it would be nice to win there,' he said. Both will be aiming to beat Greg Foster's world indoor 60m hurdles record of 7.36sec, and the Briton is confident he will be the one to do it.

After that, Jackson will set himself for the main target of an outdoor world championship gold medal in Stuttgart. After his misfortune in Tokyo last year, he is due some luck. Maybe the fact that Stuttgart is twinned with his home city of Cardiff is a good omen. Jackson is certainly hoping so.