Athletics: Jackson the favourite

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COLIN JACKSON, named yesterday in Britain's squad for next month's World Indoor Championships, is one of six medal prospects identified by Britain's director of coaching, Frank Dick.

The Welshman's performance in Saturday's AAA Indoor Championships at Birmingham, where he won a fourth title over the 60 metres hurdles and set a Welsh record of 6.60sec in finishing second to his friend and training partner, Mark McCoy, at 60m, have established him as a clear favourite to win in Toronto.

He has already recorded victories over the two men who will represent the United States over the high hurdles, Tony Dees and the world record-holder Greg Foster. And McKoy, who still talks with dazed wonder about how he won the Olympic title last summer while the man he had been certain would finish a metre in front of him clattered to seventh place, can see no other victor than Jackson.

'The only time I think I can beat Colin is if he beats himself,' McKoy said. 'Which is not very often. He's definitely the best hurdler in the world now. But he was definitely the best hurdler in the world last year. . .'

If Jackson does not take get the gold it will be a big surprise. For the other five athletes picked out by Dick from a squad reduced to 29 by David Grindley's decision not to run in the 400m, the prospects of success are less clear.

Tom McKean's performance in winning virtually unchallenged over 800m in Birmingham, coming after a promising series of indoor races, was enough to encourage his belief that he could win a medal. He succeeded in running the kind of fast first lap - around 51sec - which he thinks he will need in Toronto to keep up with the Kenyans, but allowed his concentration to slip over the third 200 metres and finished outside his championship best of 1min 46.49sec.

McKean's training partner, Yvonne Murray, looks a strong prospect in the women's 3,000m after her recent performance in setting the second fastest 2,000m, but she has yet to confirm her participation from her training base in the United States.

John Mayock, a silver medallist at 3,000m at last year's European indoors, has looked sharp over shorter distances this year and could well experience further tangible success.

In the triple jump, Jonathan Edwards's all-comers record of 17.16m at Birmingham the week before last puts him in a promising position, while Steve Smith, Britain's world junior high jump champion, has decided that his stressed shins will stand up to the strain in Toronto, where he is interested in and expecting nothing less than gold.

Saturday's championships were preceded by a further eruption in the domestic power struggle within the sport. Arthur McAllister, the 72-year-old president of the British Athletic Federation, criticised the four men - Peter Radford, David Bedford, John Lister and Bob Greenoak - who launched their own manifesto this month as part of a campaign to secure positions at the forthcoming annual meeting.

Supporting the rival claims of David Cropper, Ken Oakley and Chris Carter, McAllister, who does not have to seek re-election, said: 'I did not want to stand by and see our sport taken over by a small cabal.' Should all the president's men fail to win their places, McAllister's position would be very awkward.

GREAT BRITAIN TEAM (for World Indoor Championships, Toronto, 12-14 March): MEN: 60m J John (Newham); 200m John, S Wariso (Haringey); 800m T McKean (Motherwell), M Steele (Longwood); 1500m D Strang (Haringey); 3,000m J Mayock (Barnsley); 60m hurdles C Jackson (Brecon), A Tulloch (Wolverhampton); High jump S Smith (Liverpool), D Grant (Haringey); Triple jump J Edwards (Gateshead), J Golley (Thames Valley); Long jump F Salle (Belgrave); Shot P Edwards (Belgrave).

WOMEN: 60m B Kinch (Hounslow), M Richardson (Windsor); 200m Richardson, L Fraser (Trafford); 800m J Parker (Essex), L Gibson (Oxford); 1500m B Nicholson (Tipton); 3,000m Y Murray (Edinburgh AC); 60m hurdles J Agyepong (Shaftesbury), C Court (Birchfield); 3,000m walk J Drake (Brighton); High jump D Marti (Bromley), J Jennings (West Suffolk); Long jump F May (Derby); Triple jump R Kirby (Hounslow), M Agyepong (Shaftesbury). Reserves: 60m hurdles S Farquharson (Croydon); Triple jump A Hansen (Essex).

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