Jackson returns to the domestic fold

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The Independent Online

Colin Jackson announced yesterday that he has lifted his boycott of meetings organised by the British Athletic Federation, and he gave the credit to Peter Hier, the BAF official currently recovering from a heart attack.

Hier, a member of the federation's promotions unit, flew nearly 11,000 miles earlier this year to persuade Jackson, who was training in Australia, to change his mind.

The 29-year-old Welshman, who vowed last season never to run in a BAF meeting while Peter Radford remained executive chairman, said yesterday: "Peter [Hier] cleared a lot of things in my mind. He told me British athletics wasn't just about one man.

"I realised how hard the promotions people worked to put on major meetings. I didn't want to kick them in the face. I have had a lot of pressure from the general public to change my mind. But the fact is if Peter hadn't come out to see me I don't think I would be running."

Hier, who suffered a heart attack last Thursday, is said to be "comfortable" in hospital.

Jackson will be back for the Gateshead Grand Prix on 30 June but still insists he will have nothing to do with Radford. "Me and him are dead and buried," he said yesterday.

Jackson refused to run after being carpeted by Radford last summer. He claimed he had been lectured like a schoolboy for competing in Italy 24 hours after pulling out of the AAA Championships with a muscle injury. Jackson now admits that he made mistakes - principally in not speaking to his coach, Malcolm Arnold, before leaving.

"All I had on my mind was getting out to Italy and testing my injured leg," he said. "I have to put my hands up and say that I could have calmed down the situation." Arnold commented: "I have coached Colin since he was 17 and I was anxious that the later years of his career did not come under a cloud.

"I am optimistic he is in for a successful season. He is in the shape he was before winning the world title in Stuttgart [1993]."