Colin Jackson hoping Paris 2024 could kick-start ‘new generation’ of GB talent

By Sports Desk March 28, 2024

Olympic silver medallist Colin Jackson is convinced this summer’s Paris Games could give rise to a “new generation” of household names in British athletics.

The decorated Welshman secured a silver medal in the 110 metres hurdles at the 1988 Games in Seoul and five years later won gold at the world championships with a world record time of 12.91 seconds that would stand for 11 years.

Jackson, 57, accepts his friend Usain Bolt’s now hung-up spikes might occupy an unfillable place in athletics, but feels the sport is more than ready for new superstars to emerge – an occurrence he believes is only possible at an Olympics.

He told the PA news agency: “If we have a successful team, which it’s believed to be, and we get five or six medals, if we achieve a ‘Super Saturday’ as we did in London 2012, that will be another kick-start, because that signifies a new generation.

“We won’t be looking at Jess (Ennis-Hill), Mo (Farah), Greg (Rutherford) any more. You’re looking at the next generation, touching distance for all up-and-coming athletes, and us pre-historic athletes will be happy to celebrate their success.”

Bolt stepped away from competition in 2017, nine years after the 2008 Beijing Games where he became the first man in history to win 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay golds in world record times in the same Olympics.

The “fastest man on earth” would go on to defend his 100m and 200m titles at an unprecedented two successive Games at London 2012 and Rio 2016, becoming box-office viewing and one of the most recognisable names in sport.

Jackson said: “When Usain [broke through], it happened at the Olympic Games, so when you break through you have to break through on that Olympic level.

“The World Championships are great, fantastic, yes, but it’s that dream of the Olympic Games that will make it come true.

“[Usain] is once in a lifetime, seriously. As an athlete and a person, I’ve known him for a long time and he’s just brilliant. His professionalism is up and beyond. He’s just magic.

“When you see somebody with the physical talent like that but [also] the rest of the attributes to be a global superstar, you’ve just got to tip your hat to him.”

Jackson believes Paris’ proximity and UK-friendly time zone, combined with – unlike the coronavirus-restricted Tokyo 2020 Games – full houses and weeks of “wall-to-wall athletics” across both the Olympic and Paralympic Games could catapult his sport back into the spotlight.

Take your pick of talent, from Zharnel Hughes – tipped by Bolt himself as a contender for 100m gold in Paris – world champion Josh Kerr hoping to upgrade his 1500m Tokyo bronze, 2024 world indoor pole-vaulting champion Molly Caudery or Commonwealth T38 100m champion Olivia Breen, who Jackson feels has “stepped up her game” since winning T38 long jump bronze at the Tokyo Paralympics.

Jackson, now a regular commentator, has spent plenty of time around para athletes and saw his career take off alongside that of fellow Welsh athlete and prolific Paralympic champion Tanni Grey-Thompson.

Still, he admits it was not until he became the international sports director for the Wings for Life World Run, which raises funds for spinal cord injury research, that he truly began to appreciate some of the specific challenges those affected face, from difficulties regulating temperature to insufficient government support.

The event, backed by Allwyn in a three-year partnership, takes place on May 5 this year, with everyone departing at the same time – midday in the UK – regardless of time zone across the globe.

Anyone can take part in the event, which embraces walkers, wheelchair-users and anyone else looking to test themselves against an in-person or virtual ‘catcher car’, covering as much distance as they are able.

Jackson’s advice to participants feels just as poignant for the Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes poised for Paris.

“You should (always) be slightly disappointed,” he said. “Let me come back, work a little harder, just go a little bit further.

“Nothing is ever perfect, but excellence is good enough.”

Related items

  • Kenenisa Bekele says London Marathon field will be ‘remembering’ Kelvin Kiptum Kenenisa Bekele says London Marathon field will be ‘remembering’ Kelvin Kiptum

    Kelvin Kiptum will always hold a special place in the hearts of all marathon runners, according to veteran three-time Olympic track champion Kenenisa Bekele.

    Kenyan long-distance runner Kiptum won last year’s London Marathon for the third time, but was killed in a car accident in February at the age of 24.

    The death of Kiptum, who had gone on to become the first man to run the marathon under two hours and one minute in Chicago, sent shockwaves through the sport.

    In winning last year, Kiptum set a new London Marathon record time of two hours, one minute and 25 seconds. He is to be remembered before Sunday’s race with 30 seconds of applause.

    Ethiopian Bekele – who won Olympic gold in both the 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres at the 2008 Games in Beijing – has run the London Marathon five times, and was runner-up in 2017.

    The 41-year-old, who also has five World Championship titles on the track, has seen plenty of talent come through during his long career, but is in no doubt of the lasting impact made by Kiptum.

    “Kelvin of course, all of us miss him,” Bekele said. “Even within his short time, he has been setting an amazing history.

    “The course record is also under his name and we are all remembering him.

    “We put him in a special place in our heart because in a really within a short time he has done a lot for our sport.”

    Bekele feels a lot of factors will come into play if Kiptum’s course record is to be challenged.

    “Most of the time in London, maybe the first half is a very fast start because of pacing, but with me it can depend,” he said.

    “I can read my body, listening to my feelings and of course the circumstances – like with the weather.”

    Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola comes into London as the reigning New York Marathon champion, which followed on from his victory at the 2022 World Championship in Eugene.

    Tola, who claimed 10,000m bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics, feels in good shape heading into Sunday’s showpiece race.

    “I have been working hard to prepare my body for the marathon in London,” he said.

    “My training is OK and my body is okay, so we will see (what happens) on Sunday.”

    Olympics selection could also be secured this weekend, but Tola will not let that distract his focus.

    He said: “If I am selected for the Olympics, I will be happy, but it will depend on our race – and after Sunday we will know.”

  • World record holder Tigst Assefa out to make history in first London Marathon World record holder Tigst Assefa out to make history in first London Marathon

    World record holder Tigst Assefa hopes to set a new women’s-only best time in the TCS London Marathon on Sunday and believes it will be tougher to win than this year’s Paris Olympics.

    Ethiopian Assefa smashed the world record in September when she finished the Berlin Marathon in two hours, 11 minutes and 53 seconds.

    Next in Assefa’s sights is success in her maiden London Marathon and the women’s-only record, which is 2:17:01 and was set by Kenyan Mary Keitany at the 2017 event.

    “I am very happy to be in London for the first time,” Assefa said via a translator.

    “I did train very well for Berlin and I have trained well for this one. God will show how good I am on Sunday.

    “I have prepared very well for this race and I am sure I can beat the course record here. As I am sure all my competitors here will feel as well.

    “Regardless of whether it is London or Berlin, it will not change my strategy at all.

    “I am here to win.”

    Assefa took part in pre-race press duties on Thursday and was joined at the media centre in St James’ Park by Brigid Kosgei, Ruth Chepngetich and Peres Jepchirchir.

     

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by TCS London Marathon (@londonmarathon)

     

    Kosgei of Kenya held the world record until Assefa broke it in September but has won the London Marathon twice.

    All four athletes were asked if victory in Sunday’s 26.2-mile race would be harder than winning the marathon at the Paris Games after London Marathon race director Hugh Brasher suggested that would be the case on Wednesday.

    Only Kosgei felt the Paris Games would be harder with Assefa, Chepngetich and Jepchirchir all in agreement this weekend’s strong field made Sunday’s race the most difficult to win.

    After Kosgei failed to finish last year’s race due to injury, she revealed preparation this time had gone well.

    “I am happy to be here again this year,” Kosgei said. “Last year when I reached here I was not feeling well.

    “I have been preparing well in Kenya and I am ready.”

    Olympic champion Jepchirchir finished third in 2023 and backed a women’s-only record to be set this weekend.

    Jepchirchir added: “On Sunday I know the field is strong and I know it is not easy. We are running with strong ladies.

    “For myself, when I see the field is strong, I see the (course) record on Sunday. Yes, may the best win.”

  • Jamaican sprinter Oblique Seville eager for clash with 100 World Champion Noah Lyles at Racers Grand Prix Jamaican sprinter Oblique Seville eager for clash with 100 World Champion Noah Lyles at Racers Grand Prix

    Jamaican sprinter Oblique Seville is gearing up for an electrifying showdown against world champion Noah Lyles at the upcoming Racers Grand Prix on June 1, setting the stage for a thrilling test of readiness ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

    Seville, who finished fourth at the 2023 World Championships in Budapest where Lyles clinched his first 100m world title, is optimistic about his chances this season, having managed to steer clear of injury thus far. Seville's coach, Glen Mills, revealed earlier this year that an injury at a crucial stage last season hindered Seville's performance in Budapest, where he clocked 9.88 seconds, narrowly missing out on a medal.

    Reflecting on his preparation for the upcoming races, Seville expressed confidence in his improved health and training regimen this season. "This year I have taken some drastic steps with regards to my injuries and injury management. I am cautious with what I'm doing so I am healthy at this point, and everything is going well," Seville explained at Tuesday's launch of the Racers Grand Prix at the Jamaica Pegasus in Kingston.

    Seville's recent performances, including a 47.44-second 400m and a 20.17-second 200m, demonstrate his dedication and hard work leading into this pivotal season. "The 47.44 and the 20.17 that I ran show my dedication and hard work, so it is a possibility that I can make it onto the medal podium if things work out as planned," Seville remarked.

     “Last year, I didn’t get to train the way I really wanted to but this year I got to train the way I wanted so everything is working out. I am stronger because I have got more chances training wise to do things I didn’t get the chance to do last year because of some niggles that I had.

    “I had some issues with my back and stuff which caused me not to be able to lift weights as much as I could but I got it sorted out now and I am good.”

    Looking ahead to the Racers Grand Prix, where he will face off against Lyles and training partner Zharnel Hughes, Seville expressed excitement about the opportunity to race against the world's best. "The last time I competed against Lyles was at the World Championship finals, so it's good to run with him before the Olympics to get a feel of what is to come," Seville emphasized.

    The clash between Seville, Lyles, and Hughes at the Racers Grand Prix at the National Stadium in Kingston, promises to be a thrilling preview of what's in store for the Olympic Games in Paris, as Seville aims to secure his first global medal.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.