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Freeman to train with Jackson

Freeman to train with Jackson

2 June 2000 - Sydney - Australia's two-time 400m world champion Cathy Freeman will continue her policy of training with the best by working out with Great Britain's 110m hurdles world champion Colin Jackson in England.

Freeman, who retained her 400m world title in Seville last year after winning in Athens in 1997, arrives in Europe next week after preparing for the grand prix season with legendary coach and guru John Smith's HSI squad in Los Angeles.

Smith has 100m world record holder Maurice Greene and Commonwealth 100m champion Ato Boldon in his team.

Freeman, who burst onto the international scene with 200m and 400m gold in the 1994 Commonwealth Games, will begin her European campaign with a 400m race in Turin on June 10.

She will then spend two weeks at Bath University in England, training alongside Jackson under his long-time coach Malcolm Arnold, before moving on to her regular northern hemisphere base in London.

The 27-year-old, who in 1992 became the first Aborigine to represent Australia in an Olympic Games when she ran in Barcelona, decided to link up with multiple world champion Jackson after her plan to train in the south of France with the French national team fell through.

"We had some difficulties with access to the French camp," said Australian head coach Chris Wardlaw on Friday.

"They preferred to keep it for French athletes which is fair enough."

Freeman's great French rival and dual Olympic 400m champion Marie-José Perec has split with HSI and chosen to train in Germany rather than with the French squad.

Freeman is certain to be pre-selected in the Olympic 400m, meaning she can skip the national trials in August and complete her Games preparations in Europe, away from the hype and expectation.

She will be joined at the British intensive training camp in the southern English city of Bath by Australian 800m star Tamsyn Lewis and sprint hurdler Tim Ewen.

In other athletics news, javelin stars Louise McPaul-Currey and Joanna Stone have decided to miss the European Grand Prix season and continue their Olympic preparations in Australia.

Both have been blighted by injury over the last two years, but remain among the home team's best Olympic track and field medal hopes in Sydney.