NEWPORT’S veteran sprint star Christian Malcolm ended his career in a Welsh vest as a winner and passed on the baton to the next generation in Cardiff tonight.
In his last race in Wales an emotional Malcolm led off the Welsh men’s 4x100m relay team to victory in 40.62sec at the Welsh Athletics International.
And the next generation of Newport sprinting was also present and correct at the Cardiff International Sports Stadium as 21-year-old Mica Moore won the women’s individual 100m and helped the Wales women to win their 4x100m relay.
But Malcolm, one of the greats of Welsh athletics, was the star of the show.
The 35-year-old wiped away tears as he waved goodbye to the fans in Cardiff after helping teammates Dewi Hammond, Gareth Hopkins and Sam Gordon to victory in the relay.
“That was an amazing reception, I’m overwhelmed by the support I got today,” said Malcolm, who will hang up his spikes for good this summer after failing to make the team for the Commonwealth Games.
“It’s not officially my final race but I’ve got loads of messages on Twitter and it was fantastic to get a reception like that from the crowd. I didn’t expect that.
“I’m still in shock that the emotion got to me like that,” he added.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be on this journey but all good things come to an end.
“I think my body is saying ‘that’s it’ and the fact that I didn’t make the Commonwealths meant that it was hard to motivate myself.
“I’ve always been motivated by going to major championships so being told I wasn’t going to the Commonwealths was always going to be very difficult for me.”
A double world champion as a junior athlete, Malcolm won individual medals in the Commonwealth Games and European Championships and picked out his 200m silver at the 1998 Commonwealths as his favourite moment.
“I don’t think there’s been any defining moment in my career,” he said.
“I’ve had a lot of special moments; my first Commonwealth medal in 1998 was a big moment.
“The fact that mum was able to come out there and see me win it was special.
“She’s always been a big supporter of my career, even back to the days when we had to walk an hour to the track because we didn’t have a car.
“She always encouraged me so for her to be able to see me win my first major medal out there was fantastic and that’s a special moment that will stick with me.
“But I’ve been fortunate to have had a lot of great moments; being in the final in 2008 when Bolt broke the world record was amazing and all my medals are up there.
“I’m just glad that my friends and family have been able to follow me on this journey.”
Newport’s Moore, who does go to Glasgow in the sprint relay, won the women’s 100m A final in 11.91sec from Welsh teammate Hannah Brier.
Moore, Brier, Hannah Thomas and Lucy Evans then won the 4x100m relay in 45.45sec.
The 21-year-old flies out to Portugal tomorrow with the rest of the Team Wales athletics squad for some warm weather training ahead of the Commonwealth Games, which start next Wednesday.
Performance of the night in Cardiff came from Newport middle distance runner Chris Gowell, who recorded the first sub-four minute mile in Wales for 25 years in 3min 58.25sec.