Commonwealth Games 2002
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Athletics Wednesday, 19 June, 2002, 11:51 GMT 12:51 UK
Jackson seeks golden farewell
Colin Jackson in action in 2002
Jackson has been at the top for 15 years

At the age of 35, most world-class athletes have hung up their spikes and turned their back on competition.

Colin Jackson is the exception. After 15 years at the top of his sport, not to mention two world titles, three European golds and a world record, the Welshman is aiming to add another Commonwealth title to his long list of honours.

In 2002, Jackson could finally wave goodbye to the sport he has dominated for so long.

The hurdling hero
Name: Colin Ray Jackson
Born: 18 Feb 1967
Coach: Malcolm Arnold
PB: 12.91secs (world record)
World titles: 1993, 1999
European titles: 1990, 1994, 1998
Commonwealth titles: 1990, 1994
World Indoor titles: 1999
European Indoor titles: 1994 (60m and 60m hurdles), 2001 (6om hurdles)
AAA titles: 10 in total

But there is no sign yet of his powers diminishing. In March he took his third European indoor gold, the 60m hurdles crown in Vienna, holding off local favourite Elmar Lichtenegger to win in 7.43 seconds.

He has suffered just one hitch, a back injury he picked up in weight training.

"It was worrying at first because this season I just have to stay injury-free," says Jackson.

"But once we knew it wasn't serious it was frustrating. It set me back about three weeks in my training, and that's all."

open quote
My focus is on Manchester
end quote
Colin Jackson
Jackson already has two Commonwealth titles to his name, taking 110m gold in Auckland in 1990 and Victoria four years later.

In 1998 he angered Welsh officials back by pulling out of the Kuala Lumpur games at short notice, arguing he was too tired to compete.

"I didn't really fancy taking a 20-hour trip from South Africa to Kuala Lumpur - so I pulled out," he recalls.

"I still think it's up to the discretion of the athlete to pull out. I genuinely didn't believe I was capable of a performance that justified my selection."

Colin Jackson walks round the practice track with his shirt off
Jackson has kept himself in great shape
This time around there's no doubting his hunger. Although he would love another European outdoor title, and will aim for selection for the championships in Munich, the Commonwealths are his priority.

"Everything I am doing is geared towards the end of July," he says."My focus is on Manchester.

"And, being greedy, I would like to add more titles to my collection."

Jackson failed to compete at the 2001 Welsh Championships, participation in which was originally part of the selection criteria for the Welsh team for Manchester.

But that rule has now been waived for the former world champion.

"I've spoken to the Athletics Association of Wales about the situation and obviously a rule was set for competing at the Commonwealth Games," he says.

"I wanted the AAW to know that, if I'm fit and healthy, I want to run for Wales and I wanted to tell them face to face."

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