Monday 21 August 2017

Jackson slams 'offensive' records plan

Colin Jackson. Photo: PA
Colin Jackson. Photo: PA

Nick Mashiter

Colin Jackson insists he is offended by new plans from European Athletics which could strip him of his world record.

The 50-year-old's 1994 indoor 60m hurdles world record of 7.30 seconds is in jeopardy after proposals from European Athletics. All pre-2005 records could be rewritten under the new rules, which need to be ratified by governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

European Athletics announced on Monday that its ruling council had accepted a project team's recommendations to overhaul the record lists and eliminate any doping doubts surrounding performances.

It said it would now forward them to world governing body the IAAF "with the recommendation that the two organisations co-ordinate the implementation of new record ratification rules".

European Athletics taskforce chairman Pierce O'Callaghan, who led the project, has apologised to those athletes who could lose legitimate records but that isn't good enough for Jackson.

"What they're saying is they don't trust the performances of the majority of people before 2005," he said.

"When they're talking like that, and to me that's what they're saying, it's really quite offensive when I've put so much time and effort into my career.

"They think it's okay they can come up with the a statement like that and it's fine - it doesn't quite go that way, it can't go that way.

"Many people who have been encouraging them previously, they're now being offended - myself, Paula (Radcliffe), Jonathan (Edwards).

"You can never erase history. The athletes have a legacy which should stand unless they are guilty and are found doping. I'm still getting my brain around it."

If the proposals are accepted by the IAAF, a world record would only be recognised if it meets three specific criteria.

It must have been achieved at a competition on a list of approved international events where the highest standards of officiating and technical equipment can be guaranteed.

The athlete must also have been subject to an agreed number of doping control tests in the months leading up to it and the doping control sample taken after the record was stored and available for retesting for 10 years. Jackson, who won 110m hurdles silver at the Seoul Olympics, also questioned where the punishments will stop.

He said: "I won the 110 metre hurdle world title in 1993 and broke the world record - that's a European record which still stands. I will have a gold medal at a major championships but technically I won't have a performance.

"How does that work. Am I going to have to send back my World Championship medal? It makes absolutely no sense. I don't think they've really thought it through.

"Their intentions are good, trying to eradicate drug-taking in our sport and trying to get people to believe again. It's coming from a good place but what they're doing is completely wrong so that eliminates it coming from a good place."

Radcliffe, who set the marathon world record of two hours 15 minutes 25 seconds in 2003, has accused the governing body of failing clean athletes in a growing backlash against the proposals.

The world marathon record holder, whose mark would be wiped out under the plans, told BBC Radio 5 Live: "Even though they will always stand as our personal bests, it's very hard to be told, 'We don't value your record, we don't believe and respect it and we can't trust it'.

"We worked extremely hard for those records. They're a reflection of us, a reflection of our hard work and integrity. We are proud of those performances because they're clean performances."

Irish Independent

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