CHRISTIE DOESN’T EVEN COACH AND HE’S GETTING 50,000 POUNDS A YEAR FROM UKA WHICH COULD PAY FOR TWO COACHES BACK IN THE OLD DART. NO WONDER UKA ARE GETTING STICK. kk :rolleyes:
Athletics: Christian can sprint to No 1Aug 13 2006
Stephen Bond, Wales on Sunday
LINFORD Christie doesn’t believe in bad luck - but he is prepared to make an exception for Christian Malcolm.
The Welshman has become the sick-note of British sprinting since bursting onto the scene in 1998, with a catalogue of injuries putting the skids under his chances in a succession of major tournaments since.
Malcolm’s latest heartbreak came when he was forced to pull out of the European AAA trials in Manchester - leaving rival Marlon Devonish to clean up in both the 100 and 200m and book his place at the European Championships.
But former Olympic 100m champion Christie - the most decorated athlete in British history - insists a fully-fit Malcolm would have had Devonish chasing his shadow in both events.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Christian would have done the double in the AAA’s,” said Christie, who picked up gold in the 1992 Games in Barcelona.
"People might not agree with me but I think he would have beaten Marlon. He was in pretty good shape and everyone knew he was the man to beat.
"That is why it is such a huge shame he has picked up yet another injury. People always say ‘Good luck’ in athletics and my response was: ‘I don’t need luck - the only luck I need is that I don’t get injured’.
"Unfortunately that luck seems to be something Christian doesn’t have. But that is the only thing you can’t do anything about.
"It is a Catch-22 situation as the fitter you are the more likely you are to get injured.
“But I am sure he will come back and, fingers crossed, he will run a lot better next year - there is no question if he can get an injury-free season under his belt then he will be Britain’s top sprinter.”
Cardiff-born Malcolm, Europe’s second-fastest 200m runner this season, saw his preparations for the 2004 Olympics in Athens seriously hampered by a kidney problem.
He then under-performed at last year’s World Championships in Helsinki while nursing a pelvic injury, while his Commonwealth Games in Melbourne was cut short by a hamstring tear earlier this year.
A return to fitness saw the 27-year-old pencilled in as one of few serious medal contenders for the Europeans here before a second hamstring injury put paid to his chances.
Malcolm came fourth in the European Championships four years ago but returned to Cardiff with a relay gold around his neck - and has since added a World relay bronze to his collection.
And while Christie admitted the Welshman had no right to expect a podium finish in Gothenburg, he remains in no doubt a fully-fit Malcolm would have been in the hunt.
“I can’t say he would have won in Gothenburg,” added Christie. "But he would have challenged and if he equipped himself like we all know he can he would have gone close.
“This year he missed so much training time that even if he had been ready to run at the Europeans he wouldn’t have been as sharp as some athletes.”
Meanwhile, Christie - who coached Darren Campbell and Katherine Merry to Olympic success - insists he has plenty to offer in his new role in an athletes’ mentoring scheme, backed by Norwich Union, who recently announced a six-year £50 million sponsorship deal with UK Athletics.
The three-time European Champion has had an uneasy relationship with UK Athletics, once accusing it of ‘corruption’ in a row that dates back to his positive drugs test for nandrolone in 1999.
But he now hopes to play a role in lifting British sprinting from the doldrums.
“There is a lot of talent in this country but sometimes it is just a small ingredient like self-belief that is missing,” he added. “I have always wanted to put something back and this allows me to do that.”
Christie’s appointment has already brought criticism from some quarters and his role remains restricted - under British Olympic Association rules anyone found guilty of a doping offence in this country faces a lifetime Olympic exile.
Six years ago in Sydney, Christie - whose bid for coaching accreditation was rejected - had to watch from the stands as Campbell won silver in the 200m and Merry bronze in the 400m.