Nerves keeping Malcolm on his toes for Daegu

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CHRISTIAN MALCOLM is keeping his counsel as he prepares for the World Athletics Championships in Daegu.

It’s 13 years since Cardiff AAC sprinter Malcolm – then just 19 – claimed his first major senior medal, just a few weeks after he was crowned a double world junior champion, at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.

He didn’t return to a major championship podium in an individual event until last year’s European Championships, winning silver behind France’s Christophe Lemaitre in Barcelona.

And, after following that with a bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, he hopes that like mentor Linford Christie, sprinting life can begin at 30.

“I’m perhaps more nervous than I ever have been before,” said Malcolm, who is currently preparing for the World Championships in the heat, humidity and rain of Ulsan, South Korea, at a training camp funded by Aviva – supporters of British athletes since 1999.

“I’ve been doing this for a while now and you can go out there and say I am going to do this, I’m going to medal or whatever.

“But I have been to so many champs that you just don’t know what is going to happen.

“I have been to champs where you have gone in ranked 20th or 30th in the world and I have come out fifth.

“And I have gone to some where I expected to do well and haven’t.

“I ran my fastest time for 10 years this year over the 100 metres so that shows that the speed is there.

“I have got some technical things to work on in the 200, but I am quietly confident inside and there is no pressure on me.

“While this Aviva-funded preparation camp has also been an essential part of my preparation and selection for the GB & NI team – it has helped pave the way for me to achieve my dreams in Daegu and then on to London as well.”

One name dominates Malcolm’s 200m event, but, while stopping short of claiming Usain Bolt is there for the taking, he knows the world record holder is not looking as unstoppable as he did in Beijing and Berlin.

“If there is one thing I have learned it is that the favourite doesn’t always win,” he added.

“Everyone always goes on about Usain Bolt and this year he is not having a particularly good year by his very high standards.

“I think it is more about injury than anything else because he seems hungrier than ever, but he has been unfortunate with injuries and they come to us all.”

Malcolm, one of the most popular and approachable members of the British athletics set-up, has been named team captain in Daegu.

It’s a largely ceremonial role, but one that carries a few responsibilities.

And, if he was nervous about taking his place in the blocks, he’s petrified of public speaking.

“I’ve got to make a speech and I am getting some stick for it already, people are winding me up saying ‘don’t embarrass us,’” he said.

“I’ve always been the joker in the group and the one to give other people problems, so it is time for revenge.”

n Christian Malcolm has been selected for the Aviva GB & NI team and is at an Aviva-funded preparation camp in Ulsan, Korea. Aviva’s support, both at home and abroad, is helping the team prepare to compete at their best. To find out more, go to aviva.co.uk/athletics or follow us on Twitter @AvivaAthletics

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