'Upset' Jackson out of World Championships

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The Independent Online
Colin Jackson yesterday ruled himself out of next month's World Championships, citing the groin injury which prompted his controversial withdrawal from last weekend's national trials, writes Mike Rowbottom.

Both he and his advisers made it clear, however, that his decision not to defend his 110 metres title in Gothenburg was at least partly to do with mental distress. Jackson is deeply upset over the way he has been treated in the past week, both by the media and the British Athletic Federation.

Following widespread criticism of his decision to race in Padua the day after pulling out of the national championships, he had an acrimonious meeting with the BAF executive chairman, Peter Radford, and was told he had to race again at the Bupa International in Sheffield tomorrow to prove his competitive fitness for the World Championships.

Jackson agreed. But after what he described in a statement as "a testing training session" in Cardiff yesterday morning, overseen by his coach, Malcolm Arnold, he confirmed that he had "not fully recovered" from the injury which forced him to withdraw in Birmingham last Saturday. He said later that the injury had been aggravated over the final hurdle of his final drill.

"While it was always my intention to comply with the selectors' requirements to compete within the specified seven-day period, my recovery has not progressed according to plan," his statement continued. "I believe that I received good professional advice to test the extent of my injury in a competitive race in Padua, despite the criticism from those who did not wait to clarify the injury I have.

"Mentally my preparations for the World Championships have been far from perfect, with both my honesty and credibility questioned by the media and the BAF. Anyone who knows me as an athlete will understand how disappointed I am not to be able to defend my title in Gothenburg. However, my main focus will continue to be the Olympic title."

Thus Britain has lost two of its three world champions in Gothenburg within the space of a week, Sally Gunnell having announced that an Achilles tendon injury would prevent her defending the 400m hurdles title.

Jackson will be present at Sheffield tomorrow, and then plans to fly out on Monday to Munich to see Dr Hans-Muller Wohlfarth, who has been treating Linford Christie this week.

Jackson's agent, Sue Barrett, said: "He is very depressed about the situation. Colin is normally a very bubbly guy, but I have never seen him so down. Mentally he is less than 50 per cent ready to compete." Barrett added it was too soon to say when he would be running again, but added that, "in an ideal world", it would be Zurich.

Jackson's world, however, has been far from ideal this season. Off the track he and his fellow Nuff Respect athletes, Christie and John Regis, have been embroiled in the long-running pay dispute with the BAF which was only settled two weeks ago. On it, his performances have been well under par as he has struggled with tonsillitis and, latterly, the injury to his adductor muscle.

Jackson's father, Oswald, released an impassioned statement, saying that his son had been unfairly pilloried. "Colin is not a dishonest person. He is an honourable person. Everything he has stated over the last few days has been the truth. I find it despicable and unforgivable of the British Athletic Federation to place it in question," he said.

Britain lost another leading man from Gothenburg yesterday when Du'Aine Ladejo, who won the European 400m title last summer, announced that his injured hamstring would prevent him contesting an individual place. He will not run in Sheffield tomorrow, but hopes to compete in Monte Carlo on Tuesday to try to earn a relay place.

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