Exclusive: Beckham should be on Team GB football team, says hurdle champion Jackson
Friday, 13 April 2012
April 13 - British hurdling champion and BBC presenter Colin Jackson (pictured left) has supported David Beckham's chances of competing for Team GB in the football tournament at this summer's Olympic Games.
Last year, World 400 metres hurdles champion Dai Greene spoke out against football being at London 2012 saying there was no place for football at the Olympics and that big footballing names, like Beckham, would overshadow other Team GB athletes.
However, speaking to insidethegames, Jackson shared a different view and said that Beckham deserved to line up for the British team if selected by coach Stuart Pearce, which is widely expected to happen.
"It would be good for us to have anybody who has a deserving place to be on Team GB," said Jackson, who claimed European and Commonwealth Games gold medals during a glittering career, as well as a silver medal at the Olympics in Seoul in 1988.
"I remember David when he came to Singapore [for the decision on who would host the Games in 2005, pictured below left] as part of the bid group - he was hoping he could be around.
"He was saying 'God willing if I'm fit I'd love to be part of the team'.
"If he's fit enough and excited enough and really wants to do it, and is good enough, we should select him, why not?"
Jackson also said that Beckham dominating column inches could help take the pressure off some of Britain's athletes during a home Games which he said could have drawbacks for some.
"It would be good [for Beckham to compete] and it would take a lot of heat off us!"
"Some people will love that it's a home Olympics and be up for it but others will not.
"When you're away from the UK, you do not know what's being written about you or said about you – now when you have a home Olympics you will know exactly what everyone is saying about your performances.
"You can imagine if you're getting great press, it's a good experience.
"If you're a medal favourite and have a couple of rocky competitions and people start to write you off - you do not want to be reading about that!"
Jackson also tipped pole vaulters Steve Lewis, a Commonwealth Games silver medallist, and Holly Bleasdale (pictured below), the British record holder who has recorded the second highest jump of all time, to do well this summer.
"Holly Bleasdale in the pole vault has been sensational this season," he said.
"She is someone who could possibly, with the roar [of the crowd], be inspired and if her personal best is close to the world lead, she could sneak in for a medal.
"Steve Lewis has had lots of misfortune...he again is somebody who could easily come up to 5.85 and on the right day that could win him an Olympic medal."
One of the leading medal favourites, former heptathlon World Champion Jessica Ennis – who lost her title to Russia's Tatyana Chernova in Daegu last year – will have a tough task on to win a gold medal in London thoughm, says Jackson.
He said she would "have mixed emotions" after her recent performance at the World Indoor Championships, where despite a good showing she missed out on the pentathlon title, this time to Ukraine's Nataliya Dobrynska.
"If you take away the gold medal winning performance she'd be very happy, she set a new British record, had a lifetime best.
"When you look at the overall picture, it's difficult to have a great performance and be runner up.
"Chernova beat her at the Worlds, so it is an interesting dilemma as battling against one is OK, but suddenly two people have appeared."
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