Christian Malcolm bows out after 16 rollercoaster years

GOLD: Christian Malcolm celebrates his 200m victory in the 2004 European Indoor Championships

GOLD: Christian Malcolm celebrates his 200m victory in the 2004 European Indoor Championships

First published in Sport
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South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

IT’S not the way he wanted it to end but Newport sprint star Christian Malcolm brought the curtain down on a stellar career at the Welsh Athletics International in Cardiff last night.

The 35-year-old hangs up his spikes this summer, bringing to an end a career spanning almost 20 years in the sport.

Malcolm wanted to sign off with a shot at another medal at the Commonwealth Games next week but he won’t be at Glasgow 2014 having failed to meet the qualifying standards.

Last night’s 4x100m relay at the Cardiff International Sports Stadium was therefore his last race in Wales and possibly his last race ever.

The former Eveswell Primary School and Hartridge High School pupil burst onto the global scene by winning 100m and 200m gold at the World Junior Championships in 1998 aged 19.

That same year he won a silver medal in the 200m at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpar and was hailed as the next big superstar of British athletics.

But injuries and illness meant that he didn’t win another individual outdoor medal until four years ago, aged 31.

Malcolm won European Championships silver and Commonwealth bronze in the 200m in 2010.

In between he earned two World Championships bronze medals in the 4x100m relays in Helsinki in 2005 and Osaka in 2007.

He finished a creditable fifth in the 200m final at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and in Beijing in 2008 but missed out on gold with Great Britain in 4x100m at Athens in 2004 due to kidney failure.

It was the kind of bad luck that dogged him throughout his career but former Olympic 100m champion Linford Christie says Malcolm will retire as one of Welsh athletics' greats.

“Hopefully his country will remember him as one of the greats. He’s definitely in my book one of the Welsh greats,” said Christie, who coached Malcolm after the retirement of his long-time mentor Jock Anderson.

“Everyone wants to go out to be an Olympian or an Olympic medallist, but Christian was unlucky," said Christie.

"Even the time when GB won the 4x100 in Athens he was due to be on that team and he got injured - it's just one of these things.

"As a person who coached Christian for a lot of years ... he'll be sorely missed," Christie told BBC Radio Wales.

"He's been at the top of Welsh and British athletics, especially over the 200m for quite a long time.

"He won the World Juniors 100m and 200m, which very few have achieved."

Christie is also full of admiration for the way in which he battled back to full fitness on numerous occasions.

"It shows his determination. It's unfortunate - in our sport injuries is something that you have no control over at all - and he's kept coming back and back and back.

"I still think he's young, but it's best sometimes to go out at the top and be remembered that way by your public.

"I think that when you come good young, everyone expects a lot.

"I suppose that puts an awful lot of pressure on an athlete and again, injuries is something we cannot control.

"You can have all the abilities in the world, but injuries hit you and I think it is a shame."

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