Athletics: Jackson's shock reaction

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COLIN JACKSON'S winning streak was brought to an end here last night in the fourth of the IAAF's Golden League meetings, but Britain's world 110 metres hurdles record holder was more concerned afterwards to talk about his friend, Linford Christie.

Speaking after he had finished second to the American champion Mark Crear, who finished 0.04 seconds ahead of him in 13.14, Jackson described his disbelief at the news that his former team-mate and business partner had tested positive for a banned substance in February.

"It was just a huge shock," he said. "I found it hard to take in when I heard. I had no idea whatsoever that anything like this was coming up. It seems a strange thing to happen when Linford appears to be retired. I find it very hard to understand. I have known Linford well for many years and that is why I am 100 per cent sure that things will go well for him. It effects not just me, but everyone in British athletics.

"I can remember being with him at the Seoul Olympics when he had that scare over testing positive for pseudo ephedrine. This one is a little bit stronger than that. Linford must have been taking some minerals and supplements. I think we need to look at that whole question to make sure exactly what is contained in these things.

"I have taken creatine and glutamine for years. For me it has been a case of a tried and tested routine. But things can react in the body in different ways. Things are getting put in food now that can alter the body's balance. I just hope the whole thing gets sorted out and athletes can be told if there are some supplements they should not take. That would clear the matter up very quickly."

But Jackson reacted cautiously to suggestions that adverse findings of nandrolone should be either played down or disregarded. "I know what athletes are like and if it was known that the rules were changing on nandrolone some people would start taking it illegally."

Jackson faced the same opposition that he had beaten in Stockholm on Friday but on this occasion his start was not as sharp. "You are talking about fractions of seconds deciding whether you win or lose and that is where I lost it." This time Crear, who recently became only the sixth man to run the distance under 13 seconds, was able to resist the pressure Jackson put on him.

Jackson, however, is still moving in the right direction as the World Championships approach on 21 August. Kelly Holmes is a little further off, although she demonstrated all of her own commitments in the 1500m, taking the lead as the field entered the back straight for the final time. But the two years she has spent struggling against serious injury told on her in the finishing straight as she dropped back to sixth position in a time of 4:04.58. The race was won by Romania's Violetta Beclea-Szekely in 4:01.49.

There was modified rapture too for Britain's Steve Backley, who had been hoping to produce another javelin throw close to the 90m mark, such as he had produced in last months British trials. He had to be content with a middling effort of 83.51m which put him in fourth place in a contest won by Konstantinos Gatsioudis of Greece in 87.95m. It will have been cold comfort to Backley that his old rival, the world and Olympic champion, Jan Zelezny, could only manage sixth place in 83.48.

All four athletes striving for a share of the $1m (pounds 625,000) jackpot on offer to those going unbeaten through all seven Golden League events remained on course, although some were happier than others. Wilson Kipketer, who lost a shoe 200 metres into his last Golden League 800m in Paris, remained fully shod as he moved away from the field in a winning time of 1:42.57. Marion Jones won her 200m in 22.15 sec, although she was pressed by her American rival Inga Miller, who recorded 22.26.

In the steeplechase, Bernard Barmasi maintained his superiority with a 1999 world-best time of 7:58.99. The last of the four jackpot contenders, Gabriela Szabo, headed off a challenge from Carla Sacramento of Portugal to win her fourth consecutive Golden League event over 3,000m, but she said afterwards that she was not confident of remaining unbeaten. "Three more competitions of this event is difficult for me - I think it is more difficult for me than someone in 100m." Maurice Greene, the men's 100m world-record holder, edged out Frankie Fredericks in the 200m, winning in a time of 19.92 sec, 0.01 ahead of the Namibian. It was a morale-boosting victory for the American, who plans to double at the World Championships.



MEN: 200 metres: 1 M Greene (US) 19.92sec; 2 F Frederiks (Nam) 19.93; 3 O Thompson (Barb) 20.11. 800m: 1 W Kipketer (Den) 1:42.57; 2 J Kimutai (Kena) 1:43.09; 3 E Sepeng (SA) 1:43.16. 110m hurdles: 1 M Crear (US) 13.14; 2 C Jackson (GB) 13.18; 3 L Wade (US) 13.3. 400m hurdles: 1 A Taylor (US) 48.41; 2 J Woody (US) 48.55; 3 C Davis (US) 48.83. 1500m: 1 N Ngeny (Ken) 3min 29.79sec; 2 B Lagat (Ken) 3:30.61; 3 N Morceli (Alg) 3:30.95. 3,000m: 1 B Lino (Ken) 7: 28.67; 2 S Issou (Mor) 7:28.93; 3 B Lahlasi (Mor) 7:28.94. 3,000m steeplechase: 1 B Barnasai (Ken) 7:58.98; 2 C Koskei (Ken) 8:10.69; 3 J Kandie (Ken) 8:11.14. Long jump: 1 J Beckford (Jam) 8.40m; 2 Y Moudrik (Mor) 8.20m; 3 K Street-Thompson (Cayman Isl) 8.15m. Pole vault: 1 M Tarasov (Rus) 6.00m; 2 D Markov (Aus) 5.95m; 3 Jeff Hartwig (US) 5.95m. Javelin: 1 K Gatsioudis (Gr) 87.95m; 2 R Hecht (Ger) 85.28; 3 S Makarov (Rus) 84.48. GB: 4 S Backley (GB) 83.51.

WOMEN: 100 metres: 1 G Alozie (Nigeria) 12.53sec; 2 O Shishigina (Kaz) 12.58; 3 M Morrison (US) 12.67. 200m: 1 M Jones (US) 22.15; 2 I Miller (US) 22.26; 3 S Fynes (Bah) 22.47. 400m: 1 K Freeman (Aus) 49.76; 2 S Ogunkoya (Nigeria) 49.90; 3 J Miles Clark (US) 49.98. 800m: 1 M Mutola (Moz) 1min 56.99sec; 2 L Formanova (Cz Rep) 1:57.49; 3 S Masterkova (Rus) 1:57.58. 1500m: 1 V Beclea-Szekely (Rom) 4:01.49; 2 A Weyermann (Switz) 4:01.66; 3 L Chojecka (Pol) 4:02.81. GB: 6 K Holmes 4:04.58. 3,000m: 1 G Szabo (Rom) 8:28.36; 2 C Sacramento (Por) 8:30.22; 3 F Ribeiro (Por) 8:30.66. 100m hurdles: 1 G Alozie (Nigeria) 12.53sec; 2 O Shishigina (Kazak) 12.58; 3 Melissa Morrison (US) 12.67. 400m hurdles: 1 D Hemmings (Jam) 53.74; 2 S Glover (US) 53.96; 3 T Tereshchuk (Ukr) 54.42. High jump: 1 H Storbeck-Cloete (SA) 2.04m; 2 I Babakova (Ukr) 1.96; 3 M Dinescu-Iagar (Rom) 1.96.