Question time: Mark Lewis-Francis
(Filed: 18/09/2003)

  1. Kirsty Burchell (age 12): Are you nervous at the beginning of a race?

It is good to be a bit nervous before a race. I try to focus on myself and run to the best of my ability. Obviously I am more nervous for the big races but that is something I have learnt to control.

  1. Grace Boyle (12): What are your views on the false start rule?

Same for everybody, so no problem. It has made the 100m times slower this year as people cannot jump the gun. There was some controversy this year when people were disqualified, but hopefully that will all be sorted out by next year.

  1. Saphel Brooks (13): Who or what inspired you to take up athletics?

My dad took me to the track in Birmingham as he thought I was fast and had a lot of energy. At that time I wanted to be like Linford Christie or Carl Lewis. I had a lot of success from an early age and that motivated me to try to improve further.

  1. Adam Morton (13): You didn’t perform your best at the last World Championships. How can you account for this?

I was disappointed not to make the final. The race was very open this year and anybody could have won. I was running very well at the start of the season but picked up a few niggling injuries after the AAAs. Hopefully the experience will make me even hungrier for success next year.

  1. Keturah Nelson (12): How did you feel when you didn’t perform your best in Paris?

I was disappointed with my semi-final. However, I came back a few days later to run a good leg in the 4x100m relay which lifted my spirits again.

  1. Melissa Johnson (12): How did your coach react after your performance at the World Championships?

Like me, my coach and support team were disappointed with my run in the semi-final. However, they are all very supportive and know that every time I go on the start line I try to run my best. My coach has great belief in me and knows that I will bounce back stronger next year.

  1. Joshelle Holgate (12): The Olympics is your next major focus. What are you doing to improve your performance?

I am going to train even harder this winter for the Olympics.

  1. Jamila Bernard-Wheeler (12): How will you change your training schedule in preparation for the Olympics?

I will have a few weeks’ rest now and after a long season I hope to go on holiday to recharge my batteries. I have already discussed next year’s training with my coach and want to get in the best possible shape for the Olympics.

  1. Sinead Dodd (14): What is your ultimate goal?

My ultimate goal is to win the Olympic Games and the World Championships. Like every athlete, I try to do my best and hope that my best is good enough to win the major titles and break records.

  1. Tamla Short (14): How do you encourage school students to become involved in athletics and what advice would you give to a keen youngster?

Athletics is a great sport with something for everyone - sprints, jumps, throws, hurdles, long distance. Everyone should give it a try. You don’t need expensive equipment and everyone can improve with training. I have been lucky to travel around the world, see many new cities and countries and meet lots of people from different backgrounds. I would advise all young athletes to work hard in training and believe in yourself.

Note that the questions from the kids are better than the answers. No real answer to the issue of how to correct the shortcommings- just the old saw-“I’ll train harder” Well if that was possible, why didn’t you do that already? MLF also seems not to understand the impact of the starting rule.