Athletics: Christian Malcolm planning to mature like a fine wine
by Phil Blanche,
Wales On Sunday
May 22 2011
CHRISTIAN MALCOLM is ready to defy his “veteran” tag to take to the starting blocks for his 13th season at senior level.
Malcolm lines up in a strong Wales team competing against England and Scotland at the Loughborough International today.
And he insists he is still as hungry as ever for success with London 2012 looming on the horizon.
It was back in 1998 when the Cardiff-born sprinter exploded onto the international athletics stage when he was named world young athlete of the year.
Now 31, Malcolm brushed aside talk of his best days being behind him and is ready to emulate Britain’s top athletes by striking gold.
He said: “People do see me now as one of the elder statesmen of the British team and the commentators love calling me a ‘veteran’ – but I’m only 31!
“Maybe it feels like that because I’ve been around a few years but I started when I was pretty young.
“But the most successful British athletes produced their best performances in their thirties.”
Malcolm does not need to look far for inspiration. Welsh hurdling legend Colin Jackson was 32 when he won the world championship title.
His former coach Linford Christie was the same age when he struck Olympic gold at Barcelona and triple jumper Jonathan Edwards and Kelly Holmes were both 34 when they triumphed at Sydney and Athens respectively.
Last year he roared back from an Achilles injury that came close to finishing his glittering career with medals at the European Championship and Commonwealth Games.
Malcolm said: “It’s all about maturity. If I didn’t have all those years behind me then I don’t think I would have won medals I did last year.
“It was a difficult year after the injury but I used my experience to run my fastest times when it mattered most.”
Malcolm, still weighing up whether to run in the 100m or 4x100m relay at Loughborough, will need all that experience to face perhaps the toughest challenge in world sport over the next 12 months – trying to compete with Usain Bolt.
He said: “You can’t allow yourself to be daunted by facing guys like Bolt, Tyson Gay or Asafa Powell.
“You need tunnel vision to keep to your plan, but that is so hard when you can see someone like Bolt in the corner of your eye.
“You can tense up and panic – and that’s why so many athletes fail to run as fast as they can when up against them.”