Colin Jackson says plans to strip athletes of records are 'ridiculous'

Colin Jackson
Colin Jackson went undefeated in the European Championships for 12 years

Welshman Colin Jackson says plans to strip athletes of world records set before 2005 are "ridiculous."

He held the 110m hurdles record for nearly 13 years and still holds the 60m indoor hurdles record, set in 1994.

All athletics world records set before 2005 could be rewritten under a "revolutionary" new proposal from European Athletics.

"They are making excuses why they are doing it, but they are wrong," Jackson told BBC Sport.

The credibility of records was examined following the sport's doping scandal.

Svein Arne Hansen, president of European Athletics, said world records "are meaningless if people don't really believe them".

European Athletics set up a taskforce to look into the credibility of world records in January. Its ruling council has now ratified the proposals put forward by the taskforce, and it wants the sport's world governing body, the IAAF, to adopt the changes it sets out.

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British athletes such as Paula Radcliffe, Jonathan Edwards and Jackson are among "collateral damage" according to European Athletics taskforce chair Pierce O'Callaghan.

However, Jackson believes it is entirely unfair to look to rewrite the past.

"All athletes set out to achieve and when we achieve [winning] medals, that is fantastic, that is our primary objective," he said.

"When you break records, it is the icing on the cake.

"So for them to now say all of a sudden, 'we aren't sure if your record was done in a legal fashion, so we don't want you having the record… but you can keep all your medals', it is clearly quite ridiculous in my mind.

"I don't think that should be the case. World records are world records."

Lord Coe and Colin Jackson
Former Olympic athlete Lord Coe (left) was elected as IAAF president in 2015

'Think very carefully'

The proposals still need to be accepted by the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) and Jackson has urged president Lord Coe to act with caution before "stealing dreams".

He said: "My message to Seb Coe would be to think very carefully about what you are trying to do and what you are trying to achieve.

"People want to see a new era of the sport, but we always compare performance and look at history. That is what statistics are all about.

"We are always comparing, that is why what they are trying to do, in my opinion, they won't achieve [it]. They are trying to rob memories and make people cast doubt on athletes from the past.

"I came in as a fan. With that in mind, are you trying to steal my dreams from me? What about all the athletes I looked up to as a kid?"

Colin Jackson
Jackson broke the 100m hurdle world record when a time of 12.91 seconds allowed him to become the 1993 world champion

'Punishing clean athletes'

Jackson believes the proposals are unfair to clean athletes, but does not believe the matter will be disputed legally should the IAAF ratify the plans.

"You can't punish the clean athletes and in my opinion, clean athletes are still in the majority, and should not be getting caught up in this," he said.

"I am up for banning drugs cheats for life and there should be massive financial punishments.

"I still hold the world indoor record, I can't see legal challenges if it is taken away, but I think we will all be very upset and frustrated."

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