CHRISTIAN Malcolm believes the 200m is the most competitive event going at London 2012, claiming the surge in standard has been nothing short of meteoric.

As a result, the Newport sprinter is setting his sights no further than a place in the final, but as he gears up for his fourth Olympic Games, he’s warned the world’s big guns he has the experience to pounce on any slip-ups.

The 33-year-old first attended the five-ringed circus at Sydney 2000 and finished fifth in a race won in 20.09 seconds – eight years on at Beijing 2008 Malcolm was also fifth in the final, won by Usain Bolt in 19.30.

Bolt has a genuine rival at London 2012 in the shape of Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake and while the ageing Malcolm is likely to be among the also-rans, he’s determined to witness those two slug it out first hand.

“I guess I’m entering the veteran stage now, even though I don’t look it. It’s a great achievement, it’s something I won’t really appreciate until I retire,” he said.

“A lot of people have said to me that to make four Olympics is absolutely amazing, and especially in sprints. I just take every year as it is and make the major events in those years.

“My event, the standard has risen, I’d say the 200m is better than 100m. At this moment in time you could possibly run 20 seconds flat and not make the final – that was unheard of.

“When I first did the Olympics, 20 flat won the Olympic gold. The standard has raised, no doubt about that, but you have to be there in case these guys like Bolt, Blake, whoever, make a mistake.

“For me personally, the standard I’m at now, to make the final would be great. You have to be real, the sport has moved on and I’m getting older, I’m not on the incline no more, I’m on the decline but what I do have on my side is the experience.”

While Malcolm is right to consider himself fortunate to have competed at three Olympic Games, he can also count himself unlucky to have missed out on the men’s 4x100m relay at Athens 2004 with a kidney problem – watching on as Mark Lewis-Francis anchored Great Britain to gold.

Again Malcolm is among the eight Brits named in the relay squad but he is under no illusions as to the task they face.

“The relay is going to be tough. I do believe we have to get our flat speed up and I believe we will do that,” he added.

“The Jamaicans are the ones ahead at the moment, the thing about the relay is getting the baton around. It’s difficult, but it can happen to anyone, in Beijing and in Sydney, the Americans dropped the baton both times, if they can do it again and we can get it round then that’s one rival to forget about. You have to have that cool head and experience under pressure.”

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