CWG: The Bath Bullet Set To Fire

Gardener backs England old guard
By Sarah Holt
BBC Sport in Melbourne

Gardener missed the World Indoors to focus on Melbourne
Jason Gardener insists England’s veteran sprinters are ready to justify their Commonwealth Games selection.
Team bosses were criticised for not blooding rising stars such as Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and Alex Nelson - but Gardener, 30, backed the decision.

“Good youngsters do not turn into superstars overnight,” Gardener said.

“History has shown Marlon Devonish, Mark Lewis-Francis and Darren Campbell are still great competitors and they should not be underestimated.”

Gardener knows it can be frustrating for young sprinters to break into international squads.

And he added: "I was in a similar position when I was a successful junior. But it is a long, hard road to being a great senior sprinter.

"I have been the British number one over 100m and 60m for a few years now and I am here in my own right.

“I know I’m coming to the end of my career now but I don’t see any reason why I can’t continue as long as I want to.”

What motivates me now is to achieve things that I’ve not done before.

Jason Gardener

Gardener, who is searching for his first individual medal over 100m, also insists he has no regrets about opting out of his world indoor 60m title defence.

The Bath Bullet missed last weekend’s Championships in order to focus on his bid for Commonwealth glory.

Leonard Scott of the USA won the gold medal in Moscow, although Gardener’s winter form suggested he could have retained his title.

“I don’t regret the decision because I have won the World Indoors but never won an individual Commonwealth gold,” Gardener said.

"It’s alright saying I could have won it again with hindsight, but I sacrificed being there so I could be at my best for these Games.

“If I had wanted to take the easy route then I would have gone to compete in Moscow but what motivates me now is to achieve things that I’ve not done before.”

Gardener said he intends to fight through the pain barrier if necessary when he goes in the heats of the men’s 100m on Sunday.

We all have to go out and try to win a medal and I’ll be disappointed if I don’t.

Jason Gardener

The Bath Bullet, who is England’s athletics team captain in Australia, has a slight problem with his lower back picked up while competing in a meeting in Melbourne last week.

But Gardener, who will line-up against Jamiaca’s world record holder Asafa Powell for the title, is confident he will be ready by the time he gets to the starting line.

“I’m working with the medical team and I’m preparing well for Sunday’s races,” he said.

"I remain positive I will overcome the problems and I do expect to do well.

“We all have to go out and try to win a medal and I’ll be disappointed if I don’t.”