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‘Love Bolt’s approach to races’

Colin Jackson

New Delhi: At the peak of his career in the 90s, Colin Jackson was one of the biggest stars in world athletics. Thrice winner of the World Championship, the British hurdler was undefeated in the European Championship for 12 years on the trot.

But then, the success story of Colin was not restricted to 110-metre and 60-metre hurdles only. Once he decided to hang up his boots, Colin became a television commentator and was an instant hit.

On Wednesday, he was in the capital for the promotion of Wings of Life World Run to be held in several cities across the world, including Sonepat in Haryana, on May 4. Articulate and forthright, Colin spoke at length on different issues in athletics.

Himself a champion during his playing career, Colin displayed a great deal of respect for the present-day stars. Asked what he felt about the kind of arrogance on display from Usain Bolt, Colin described himself a fan of the Jamaican legend.

“Usain has been the same since he was 15. It is what he does. I love the way he approaches the races. What people tend to forget is when he gets on his mark, he is in the zone to deliver his performance,” said the 1988 Olympics silver medal winner.

At the same time, Colin pointed out that there is a difference in style between that of a sprinter and a hurdler. “We are very different when it comes to attitude. It is like being a heavyweight boxer in those few seconds.

“Sprinters’ competition is about brute force and strength, while ours is more about finesse, timing and skill. We see our events differently. I would talk to my competitors, discuss our run, and suggest what one could try. Our event is like an art,” said Colin.

Sprinters, Colin admitted, were more popular than the hurdlers. “Of course, Aries Meritt does not come closer to Bolt in terms of popularity. But the hub of athletics is Europe.

“In the United States, unless you are of the likes of Michael Jordan and Carl Lewis, who have done phenomenal things, one-off title and one-off records don’t really matter. Generally, hurdlers have to do their best for a much longer time than a sprinter,” Colin said.

The right kind of training and coaching is the main reason behind the success of athletes, said Colin. “Even the Indians can do well in the international circuit.