Malcolm relishing battle for Olympic berth

NEWPORT sprinter Christian Malcolm insists Great Britain’s sprinters must stop hiding from each other, admitting he’s relishing the return of some domestic rivalry at the Aviva 2012 Trials next month.

There’s little Malcolm, 32, hasn’t seen in his 17 years on the international circuit and there is plenty of fire left in his belly as he bids for a fourth Olympic appearance this summer.

The 2010 European 200m silver medallist blew off the cobwebs last weekend at the Great CityGames as the outdoor competition kicked into gear in Manchester, taking victory over 100m.

It’s the 200m where Malcolm will be bidding to book his London 2012 place in at the Aviva 2012 Trials at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium on 22-24 June however and he believes the return of Dwain Chambers to the Olympic fold, as well as the likes of Mark Lewis-Francis and Marlon Devonish, will see a return to the days when Britain were not Olympic also-rans.

“I think this year is going to be tougher than most with it being an Olympic year and with it being a home Olympics,” he said.

“For me, I believe this is a time for the youngsters to try and step up and also for the people who are current now have really got to put themselves in there if they want to make the team.

“The rivalries are good; I think this is what it’s all about. I think in recent years it was missing between British sprinters.

“Back in the day when there was the likes of myself, Marlon, Dwain, Julian Golding, Darren Campbell – we’d all race.

“Every week there’d be maybe two or three Brits in a race against each other and I think there hasn’t been so much of that in recent years and I think we need to start getting back to that. We’re not so much a dominant force in world sprinting anymore.

“Us as Brits, we have go to push each other on if we want to get better.

“There’s no point in hiding here and there, we have to race each other and push each other along because the rest of the world seems to have stepped it up a little bit. We need to come together again as we did ten years ago.”

In both the 100m and the 200m, there are a maximum of three British Olympic spaces up for grabs but plenty more British sprinters will fancy their chances in Birmingham.

The trials will be the biggest British qualification events of any Olympic sports and the most competitive since the 1992 Barcelona Olympic trials, as over 750 of Britain’s best athletes - including Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis, Phillips Idowu and Dai Greene – go head-to-head in a battle for selection.

Athletes can guarantee nomination for selection by finishing in the top two positions in their event – as long as they also hold a current ‘A’ standard, with the Team GB squad being announced by the British Olympic Association on 3rd July 2012.

And while there will be some agony as well as some ecstasy at the Alexander Stadium, UKA head coach Charles van Commenee, who is targeting eight track and field medals at London 2012, wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I am looking forward to the Aviva 2012 Trials,” said van Commenee. “There is a depth in the sport that we have not seen for 20 years and we have a number of events where five or six athletes are competing for three places.

“It doesn’t take a genius to work out the maths and athletes will need to be at the very top of their game at the Olympic Trials if they want to make the team for London 2012.”

l Back the team and watch over 750 British best athletes at the Aviva 2012 Trials in Birmingham from 22-24 June. For tickets visit www.uka.org.uk/aviva-series or call 08000 55 60 56. #backtheteam

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