Athletics: Jackson swift to show record potential

Click to follow
The Independent Online
COLIN JACKSON did everything expected of him, and everything he hoped for, in winning the 60 metres hurdles in yesterday's Vauxhall International between Britain and the United States here, which saw home victories in the men's and women's matches.

Jackson's time of 7.46sec, which established clear daylight between himself and his main rivals, his team-mate Tony Jarrett and Arthur Blake of the United States, was only 0.05sec off his European indoor record.

Jackson's exit from the arena was equally swift - he set off in a fast car for a 6.50pm flight from Heathrow to Germany, where he plans to compete today against Roger Kingdom, Tony Dees and Greg Foster in a meeting at Sindelfingen.

That meeting will provide him with a more stringent test, but the portents are already good for a season in which Jackson hopes to assuage his Olympic disappointment with a world title.

Steve Smith, Britain's 19-year- old world junior high jump champion, is also hoping to erase uphappy memories of Barcelona with gold in Stuttgart this summer. Yesterday he affirmed his position as the world's leading performer with an all-comers' record of 2.35m, having seen off a field which included the man who lifted British high jumping to world-class levels, Dalton Grant.

'The surface today was very hard, which didn't suit me,' Smith said. 'I think today's performance was definitely worth 2.40 on a better surface.'

That will be Smith's target at the same venue next Saturday in the TSB International. He is confident it can be done, as he believes he is bound to feel better going into competition than he did this week, when a stomach bug prevented him eating for almost two days.

Smith revealed that there is a potentially more worrying long- term threat to his prospects this year - he has the beginnings of stress fractures in both shins. 'It was diagnosed very early and nipped in the bud,' he said. 'I haven't done any bounding exercises since 23 January. But I've been told jumping doesn't affect the problem.'

One runner who left herself with nothing to prove after the Olympics enjoyed a relatively relaxed victory. Sally Gunnell, the 400m hurdles champion from Barcelona who was making her first domestic appearance of the season, won the 400m in the relatively modest time of 53.36sec.

Gunnell has turned down many invitations to race since returning from a Christmas break in Florida in order to concentrate on training, but she feels she is still only 80 per cent fit. However, with no thought of competing in the world indoor championships, she can afford to be relaxed about her running.

In the men's 400m, David Grindley, the 20-year-old British outdoor record holder, claimed another victory over his long-time rival Mark Richardson, who set a UK indoor best over 300m two weeks ago, recording 46.67sec.

Although Grindley showed no great acceleration in the final bend, the strength was there to hang on as the leader on the inside lane, his British team-mate Ade Mafe, lost concentration 15 metres from the line.

Marcus Adam won the 200m after John Regis, with whom he returned from training in California last week, was disqualified for running out of his lane.