DARREN CAMPBELL hires Gardner's coach to improve start

Heavy traffic on the M5 means Darren Campbell is late for his interview - and the sprinter does not like to disappoint his audience.

When he finally arrives from his training base in Cardiff he bounds into the room, six feet of energy.

Campbell is in high spirits and chatters about, “running with a smile on my face” and being “just happy-go-lucky”.

The 30-year-old is eager to please and is already promising much at his third Olympic Games this summer.

“I feel extremely confident that I can have a great season,” Campbell told BBC Sport.

"I’m going into the Olympics believing that I can do something amazing.

“And whether it goes good from now on or whether something bad happens, you know that cometh the time in Athens I’ll be fully focused.”

Underneath Campbell’s easy-going exterior lies a steely determination to succeed.

The world 100m bronze medallist has employed a second coach, Jason Gardener’s former mentor Dave Leese, to work alongside his main coach Linford Christie.

Campbell, who says the best part of his race is the final 40m surge to the line, has hired Leese to sharpen up his start.

The Manchester-born athlete is also grinding out training sessions twice a day - something he would not normally do until the outdoor season begins.

Campbell has a game-plan for gold and nothing, not even the recent birth of his second son, is going to derail his ambitions.

“I’m a planner and I know what is important to me,” said Campbell.

"I may come fourth, sixth, eighth, sometimes first, on the circuit, but put that medal up for grabs and it’s a different animal that burns inside me.

"I believe that you can’t get up for too many competitions because when the big one comes round you’re a bit flat.

"Normally I have to keep racing to get sharper and that’s why my performances tend to come at the major competitions.

I believe you will have to go sub-10 to win Olympic 100m gold and that’s still something I haven’t done

"But this time I should come out for the outdoors a lot fresher and with a lot more speed.

“It’s Olympic year so I want to scare people early so they have the sleepless nights.”

There is just one small hitch in Campbell’s masterplan. He has not decided which event to focus on - the 100m, the 200m or both.

The former professional footballer went to Sydney four years ago with his thoughts trained on the 100m.

He finished sixth - but went on to grab a surprise silver in the 200m.

At the world championships in Paris last year, Campbell marked the 200m as his main event.

He battled to an unexpected 100m bronze - but finished just out of the medals in the 200m four days later.

Could actually planning to double up ensure double glory in Athens?

“In the last few years I’ve concentrated too much on the 200m,” said Campbell.

"That has made me stronger but it hasn’t made me faster.

"My personal best in the 100m is 10.04 seconds. I set that in 1998 and I haven’t got any quicker.

"I need to get back the mentality of Sydney where I was having fun but the strength and competitiveness inside of me got me the medal.

“I’m not saying that I intend to do both events, but if I can make the final then I will do everything I can - and then maybe run the steeplechase too.”

Campbell won his Olympic 200m silver medal through sheer guts and self-belief
Campbell’s biggest rival over 200m in Athens is likely to be enigmatic Greek sprinter Konstantinos Kenteris

The reigning Olympic champion may shy away from the Grand Prix circuit but he is expected to defend his title on home soil.

“I haven’t raced Kenteris since the last Olympics, and that’s a blessing,” says Campbell.

“The pressure of a home crowd can make you weaker or it can make you stronger. I know that he will be extremely nervous and that’s a chance for me to take advantage.”