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ATHLETICS: Jarrett's chance at last

It seemed reasonable enough to ask Tony Jarrett which gave him most satisfaction from Sunday's performance in Stuttgart - lowering his English 60 metres hurdles record to 7.44sec, or the fact that he had come within thousandths of a second of bea ting the world's acknowledged No 1 high hurdler, Colin Jackson?

His answer was curiously defensive - "I take satisfaction from the fact that I am fit." But if Jarrett is sick and tired of hearing about Colin Jackson it is understandable.

As Malcolm Arnold - Britain's national coach and individual coach to Jackson - points out, Jarrett has suffered by the comparison for years. "People forget how good Tony is," Arnold said. "He is fourth-fastest ever in the world, faster even than Greg Foster and many other athletes whom we have all revered."

Jarrett, who meets Jackson again in this Saturday's match against France in Glasgow, has found himself in the novel position of being injury-free this winter - something he has not been able to say for the last five years.

Having spent three weeks warm-weather training in Lanzarote with Darren Braithwaite and John Regis for company, he is running fast, and that speed has already been combined to advantage with his hurdling technique.

While Jackson has chosen to spend next month training for the outdoor World Championships, Jarrett will be competing at the World Indoor Championships in Barcelona and he is looking distinctly like a potential champion.

After the mixed time he had last season, Jarrett is due a good run of fortune.