Commonwealth Games: Christie and Jackson kindle an imperious fire: Olympic and world 100m champion in majestic form as Jarrett settles for familiar silver medal in sprint hurdles

Click to follow
The Independent Online
COLIN JACKSON and Linford Christie retained their Commonwealth Games titles in imperious style here yesterday. But the good name of British athletics was once more tarnished by a drugs scandal.

The England team management confirmed that an athlete had failed a drugs test. Shot-putter Paul Edwards admitted he had been told there was something wrong with a sample he had given during the European Championships in Helsinki, but denied he had ever taken drugs.

Drug scandals come and go, but Christie continues. He won the 23rd major championship medal of his career, and is showing no signs of slowing down. The 9.91sec he clocked for the 100m was a Games record, the second-fastest time of his life and the perfect broadside to critics who thought they had detected signs of wear and tear in the 34-year-old's legs.

Having retained his European and Commonwealth titles in the space of two weeks, he is now halfway towards the second grand slam of his career. For 40 metres, young pretenders Ato Boldon, of Trinidad, and Michael Green, of Jamaica, were alongside him. But over the second half they could not hold a rampant Christie.

Green held on for third in 10.05sec, while Sierra Leone's Horace Dove-Edwin came through for a surprise silver medal in 10.02. His performance will have been celebrated in Brixton, where his mother lives. Dove-Edwin himself spent four years in London before moving to the United States.

The standard of the race elevated these Games from the realms of a school sports day into something fit to lay before a queen. The cocky Americans, who thought they had seen the best of Christie, must be sinking into their spikes now. He beat them in Zurich and has shown here that age has not wearied him.

'People ran quicker here than I anticipated,' Christie said. 'The standard was a lot higher than Hle1sinki. But Zurich was tougher because there was more pressure.'

Jackson and Christie only arrived on Saturday from a grand prix meeting in Brussels and return to Britain tonight. In the heats of the 110m hurdles, Jackson seemed to be feeling the effects of jet-lag and his concentration was not helped when a piece of woodchip off one of the hurdles hit him in the eye.

But last night the Welsh dragon was breathing fire again as Jackson won the principality's first gold medal, equalling his Games record of 13.08sec. It was a much smoother performance by Jackson, who hit only the eighth hurdle in his 14th successive victory.

With five Britons in the final, the race resembled a AAA's championship rather than a Commonwealth final. Tony Jarrett picked up the silver medal he must be so used to receiving by now. His time was 13.22sec. 'Tony keeps poking me in the ribs,' Jackson said. 'One day he'll catch me out.'

Paul Gray, Jackson's former school mate and now training partner, finished third in 13.54. Jackson was almost as delighted by that performance as his own.

Jackson now embarks upon an end-of-season schedule that takes him to six countries in the next month. His target is his world record of 12.91sec. He said: 'Five or six days of constant training should be all I need. It doesn't matter who is in the race, it's just a matter of how Colin Jackson performs.'

There was a shock for England's European 400m champion Du'aine Ladejo, beaten by Charles Gitonga, a Kenyan so little known he did even appear in his country's team handbook for the Games. Gitonga did to Ladejo what Ladejo had done to Roger Black in Helsinki, turning the screw down the home straight. Ladejo's legs buckled under the pressure as Gitonga pulled away to win, in 45.00sec to 45.11sec.

Perhaps Ladejo had had a premonition because after his heat he had said: 'I'm still an apprentice. Anyone here could teach me a lesson - perhaps they will tomorrow.'

It was the perfect response by the Kenyan team to complaints that they had brought a substandard team. No one would now bet against them winning medals in every men's event up to the marathon. Such is their strength in depth, they sent their 11th-ranked steeplechaser Johnstone Kipkoech, and he still won, in 8min 14.71sec.

The women's 100m was won by Mary Onyali, of Nigeria, in 11.06sec with 29-year-old Paula Thomas, of England, third in 11.23.

Phylis Smith, the European bronze medallist, could not match that performance in the 400m here. She was never with the leaders as Cathy Freeman, the first Aborigine to represent Australia at athletics, won in a Games record of 50.38sec.

Angela Chalmers, the defending champion and home-town girl, won Canada's first track medal, taking the 3,000m in 8min 31.17sec - a Games record by more than six seconds and the third fastest time in the world this year. England's Alison Wyeth won bronze, reward for her perseverance down the years.

Drugs storm, results, page 47

(Photograph omitted)