Athletics: Jackson's testing build-up to final golden chance

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The Independent Online

Colin Jackson continues his testing build-up to the World Indoor Championships with a third 60 metres hurdles competition in five days in Dortmund today.

Jackson will again come up against the Jamaican Maurice Wignall, with whom he dead-heated in Erfut last Friday, as well as last year's European indoor silver medallist Elmar Lichtenegger, whom he has beaten twice in the past week. The World Indoors in Birmingham from 14-16 March will be Jackson's last appearance in a British vest.

The Welshman has vowed to mark his retirement, after 17 years on the international stage, with something special for his supporters. "The World Indoor Championships will definitely be my last race," Jackson said. "Obviously I want to perform well, particularly with them being staged [in Britain]."

But Jackson knows even with home support in the National Indoor Arena, he faces a tough task against the Olympic and world champions, Anier Garcia and Allen Johnson respectively. It is, therefore, not surprising that Jackson, who will be 36 in a fortnight's time, is making a whistle-stop tour of European venues in preparation for the last gold medal challenge of his career.

Wignall should provide an even stiffer test than he did last week when the photo-finish was unable to separate the pair in a thrilling duel. Since that race Wignall has competed in the Sparkassen Cup in Stuttgart where he shaved 0.07sec off Chris Pinnock's year-old Jamaican record of 7.60.

* The Indian middle-distance runner Sunita Rani regained her Asian Games medals at a ceremony organised by the Amateur Athletic Federation of India in Delhi yesterday after the Asian Olympic authorities cleared her of doping charges. Rani, 23, was stripped of her 1500m gold and 5000m bronze following a positive test for the banned steroid nandrolone at the games in Pusan, South Korea last October. Rani denied using any banned substance.