Jackson calling the shots
Saturday 25 May 1996
Jackson, who is due to run against the reigning Olympic high hurdles champion, Mark McKoy, is banking on a crowd of between 5,000 and 6,000 after calling in several favours from friends in the sport and attracting names such as Linford Christie, who will make his first British outdoor appearance of the season over 150 metres.
Elsewhere in the programme the theme is that of comebacks. Tessa Sanderson, who returned to javelin throwing last weekend after a three-year absence and achieved the Olympic qualifying distance of 60 metres, attempts to improve on that today.
Jon Ridgeon, named like Sanderson in the European Cup team for next weekend, runs in the 400m hurdles as part of his return after four years out with injury, building on his recent run in Turkey in the European Clubs Cup. And Diane Modahl marks her return to big time athletics after being cleared of doping offences by running at 600m.
Jackson's influence has meant he can stage an event which he estimates would normally have cost around pounds 250,000 - nominally an international match between Wales, Ireland and Croatia - to arrange.
"It's a dream come true to put something back into the sport here," Jackson said. "There have been a few headaches along the way, but it has been well worth it."
Modahl yesterday promised to force Britain's selectors to pick her after being overlooked for the European Cup team. The former Commonwealth 800m champion runs the first of three races in five days in Cardiff today and is determined to make her comeback a "magical" one.
Modahl, who finally had her name cleared by the International Amateur Athletic Federation two months ago, heard on Wednesday that the 800m place for Madrid next weekend had gone to the world bronze medallist, Kelly Holmes. "It was disappointing not to be picked for the European Cup," she said. "I want to be part of the British team again. It is one of the aims of coming to terms with what happened to me.
"But it is just another event on the calendar. I'm sure that by the time the mid-season comes around it will be difficult for the selectors not to pick me on my performance."
Modahl, who is still fighting the British Athletic Federation for compensation for her drugs case nightmare, returns to international competition for the first time for nearly two years with 800m races in Hengelo on Monday and Bratislava on Wednesday.
"It will be quite nerve-racking," she said. "But those meetings will give me the chance to rub shoulders again with athletes of the highest calibre.
"It has been difficult returning to the competitive arena. Everything that has happened has come flooding back. The Olympics are a serious goal, but the most important thing for me is to feel comfortable again with athletes, tracks and officials. Once I do that I'm sure that I can start running well. I'm determined to make this comeback a magical experience."
The event also gives an opportunity to Jamie Baulch, who will challenge for one of the Olympic 400m places this season, to show how much he has improved in the last year in front of a home crowd. Meanwhile Sally Gunnell, who did not run last season because of injury, plans to return to 400m hurdling at a meeting in Jena, Germany, today.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal transfer news: Atletico Madrid closing in on Santi Cazorla - reports
Arturo Vidal: Manchester United bid £39m for Juventus midfielder
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger set to cancel moves for Sami Khedira and Morgan Schneiderlin in favour of Jack Wilshere - reports
Chelsea transfer news: Jose Mourinho wants both Thibaut Courtois and Petr Cech to stay at Stamford Bridge
Sami Khedira, Angel di Maria and Isco among Real Madrid players up for grabs this summer
- 1 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 2 50 books for students to read this summer: From Ernest Hemingway to Gillian Flynn
- 3 McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Joey Barton and Yossi Benayoun become involved in Twitter row over Israel-Gaza conflict
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...
£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...
£28000 - £33000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive (Digital Marketi...