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  Monday, 13 August, 2001, 14:24 GMT 15:24 UK
Jackson's dismay at lack of talent
Colin Jackson is sad to see Britain struggling
Double world champion Colin Jackson has blamed Britain's athletics failure in Edmonton on a dearth of talent in track and field.

And Jackson, who collected 110m hurdles titles in 1993 and 1999, thinks some of the athletes who did make the trip to Canada weren't realistic enough not to compete despite injury and poor form.

Welshman Jackson, who decided to scale down his track commitments this season, said: "When I look at the situation overall I believe that our athletes were just not good enough.

"They were genuinely not medal material and if that's the case then there's nothing anyone can do - not the selectors, or money.

"If the bottom line is that the talent's not there to come back with the medals, then it's not going to happen.

"We need more people to shine. We have Mark Lewis-Francis, but there are other events apart from the 100m where we need athletes to shine."

Selection

Jackson, who holds the world record for the sprint hurdles, added: "I think we have been comparing our squad to previous years.

"When I won gold in 1993 and Sally Gunnell won the 400m hurdles, they were both in world record times.

"They were genuine world class performances and if you fail to reach that standard then you are not going to win medals."

The make-up of the team also gave Jackson some cause for concern and he said: "You have to look at the way the squad was selected.

"There was a lot of people selected on last season's standards and a lot who just made it. So it will be difficult for them to progress and win medals.

"It up to the individual concerned to pull themselves out if they think they are not going to do themselves justice.

Glamorous

"But if the person thinks they can justify the selectors' backing then the decision is with them.

"Everybody who was there was justified in going, but it was up to the individual concerned to be honest with themselves and say 'I'm genuinely world class, but my level is not what it should be and I'll stay at home.'"

In that respect, Denise Lewis' decision to pull out met with Jackson's approval.

"She's Olympic champion and there's no point in going out there and performing badly. That's the last thing she needs before going onto winter training under a cloud."


When I look at the situation overall I believe that our athletes were just not good enough.
Colin Jackson
In curing the malaise, Jackson said: "Perhaps athletics should do something to make itself more glamorous to encourage people to come in.

"Rugby was struggling, money came in and people want to be involved.

"That's what we are looking for in athletics, from the early grass-roots right through.

"We need centres of excellence where our elite athletes are willing to spend a week with our up-and-coming stars and take them through the process.

"I have never been asked to do that - not in Britain, anyway. I have actually been to Holland to do it and it seems ironic that I was encouraging people to go out and beat the British athletes."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Colin Jackson talks to BBC Wales' Frances Donovan.
"If the talent's not there to come back with the medals, then it's not going to happen."
See also:

13 Aug 01 | World Athletics
12 Aug 01 | World Athletics
12 Aug 01 | Our man at Edmonton
Links to more World Athletics stories are at the foot of the page.


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Links to more World Athletics stories

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