Athletics: Jackson Heads for Home in Quest for Crown
Turnbull, Simon, The Independent (London, England)
THE KING of sprint hurdling is back in the Principality this weekend. He will also be back in action for Wales in Manchester in July, looking to regain the Commonwealth crown he abdicated so contentiously four years ago.
Colin Jackson, who announced himself on the senior international stage as a silver medal-winner at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, enraged his fellow countrymen when he withdrew from the Welsh team on the eve of the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur. He claimed he was "mentally too tired" but subsequently took part in a lucrative invitation meeting in Tokyo.
So, when Jackson failed to appear in the Welsh Championships last summer, a requirement of selection for this year's Games, it seemed the 110 metres hurdles champion of 1990 and 1994 had closed the book on his Commonwealth career.
His return home this week, however, in preparation for the Norwich Union AAA Indoor Championships today and tomorrow - switched to the Welsh National Indoor Athletics Centre in Cardiff because the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham is being prepared for Britain's Davis Cup tennis tie with Sweden - has opened a new chapter.
At a function to launch The History of Welsh Athletics at the Celtic Manor on Wednesday, Jackson - a native Cardiffian and resident of Penarth but based at a German training centre in Tubingen for the winter - was presented with an award honouring his services to track and field by the Athletics Association of Wales. He was also given the AAW's blessing to represent Wales in Manchester.
"I'm very pleased with the decision," Jackson said. "It's taken a lot of pressure off me for the coming year." That year is likely to be the last in the fast lane for Jackson, who turns 35 on 18 February. "I don't think I could go through another winter of preparation," he said. …