11:20am Monday 21st May 2012
By Andrew Penman
NEWPORT sprint star Christian Malcolm has been backed to end his career with a medal at this summer’s Olympic Games in London.
The veteran 200m ace will be 33 next month but his friend and former teammate Jamie Baulch insists he shouldn’t be written off.
Baulch, who also grew up in Newport, won a silver medal in the 4x400m relay at the 1996 Atlanta Games and he is convinced Malcolm can follow suit with the Team GB sprint relay team this year.
"Christian is one of the best athletes this country has ever produced," said Baulch.
"His personal best (20.08 seconds) makes him the second fastest British man in history over 200m – faster than Linford Christie and Darren Campbell.
"Only John Regis has gone quicker than him so he deserves some credit.
"I think he will definitely make the team this summer and who’s to say he can’t get a medal," he added.
"It will be tough because his event has moved on with Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell and Yohann Blake running mid-19 seconds for fun.
"Whether Christian has that in him at his age I don’t know but the relay gives him a chance of getting the medal he deserves."
Malcolm enjoyed a fantastic 2010 season, winning a bronze medal for Wales in the Commonwealth Games and a silver for Britain in the European Championships.
He has two relay bronzes from the World Championships but has never won an Olympic medal, finishing fifth in the 200m individual finals in Sydney in 2000 and in Beijing four years ago. He returned from two months of warm weather training last weekend l continued from back page to win the 200m at the South and East Wales regional Championships in Cardiff and triumphed in the 100m at the Powerade Great City Games in Manchester yesterday.
"I’ve trained with him and he’s one of the most talented athletes I’ve ever met," said Baulch.
"He’s at the back end of his career but if he gets himself in good shape and has a blinder he has the potential to run some of the big names close."
Baulch, who retired in 2005, was speaking at the launch of the 2012 Nature Valley Games in London.
Taking place on July 9, the event will be a rurally themed sporting contest to celebrate Nature Valley as the official cereal bar provider of the 2012 London Olympic Games.
"It’s a fun way of getting people excited about the Olympics," said the 39-year-old who is now managing several of Wales’ great medal hopes this summer. I manage people like Dai Greene, Gemma Lowe and Georgia Davies and this could be a golden summer for Wales.
"For the athletes to compete and for us to watch an Olympic Games in our own country is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
"And it’s not just London – the first event is in Cardiff with the women’s football two days before the opening ceremony. The eyes of the world will be on Wales and I can’t wait."
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