MLF:Great Year For Brits

Lewis-Francis chases indoor medal
By Simon Austin

British sprinter Mark Lewis-Francis says he has trained harder than ever this winter and is targeting a medal at the European indoors in March.

“The training is really hard at the moment, but it’s something I really need,” Lewis-Francis told BBC Sport.

"I’m in a great group, I’ve got a top coach (Tony Lester) and it’s about going out and putting the work in.

“I think I can achieve a medal in the European indoors. But nothing’s easy in life, you don’t get anything for free.”

The 24-year-old said he was unhappy that his commitment had been called into question in the past.

I moved from Birmingham to London and there was a whole lot of sacrifice there

“People are not around me 24/7 to know exactly what I do,” he said. "I think I train hard and work hard.

"I’ve been training more than anything else, getting ready for the big indoor season and staying focussed.

“But to tell you the truth, I don’t care what other people think. The only person I’ve got to prove to is myself and that’s it.”

Lewis-Francis split from Steve Platt, his coach of 10 years, in August 2005 and moved from Birmingham to London to work with Lester.

He said the switch had not been easy - mainly because most of his family and friends are in Birmingham - but admitted it had been of benefit.

“I moved from Birmingham to London and there was a whole lot of sacrifice there,” he said.

“I’m not going to lie, it’s not easy, but what is in life? Moving down south has opened up a whole new routine of training.”

He had an erratic year in 2006, winning gold in the 100m relay and finishing fifth in the individual event at the European Championships, but failing to reach a final at the Commonwealth Games.

Even that relay win in Gothenburg is likely to be remembered for the sullen faces of the quartet (Lewis-Francis, Darren Campbell, Dwain Chambers and Devonish) when they received their medals.

The relay win in Gothenburg was overshadowed by infighting

Campbell had earlier refused to do a lap of honour with his team-mates because he said it would be “hypocritical” to celebrate with Dwain Chambers, (edited)

But Lewis-Francis said the fall-out had not tarnished the victory.

“Not at all, because everyone’s entitled to their opinion,” he said. "Darren had his opinions and issues he wanted to voice.

"At the same time, it was about us going out there and doing what we could do for the team, which was win a gold medal.

"And I think Dwain’s cool - I’ve got no arguments with him and strongly believe everyone’s entitled to a second chance.

"I heard he’s not coming back to the sport, or something like that. If his heart’s not in it, then follow your heart.

"If his goals and dreams are somewhere else, all I can do is just wish him the greatest of luck.

“For me, Dwain was a great competitor and rival. I enjoyed competing against him.”

And the former world junior champion defended the health of British athletics.

“I don’t think British athletics is in such a bad state and I wouldn’t write us off,” he said.

"We’re just going through the natural stages of peaking and plateauing.

“And last year was a great year for British sprinting, what with the relay at the European championships.”

Not as good as previous years with 100m golds from Linford (3), Campbell, Chambers :slight_smile:

Is this a sign of settling for second best?

You are right JohnG109, but our man is not bright enough to understand or see the point you have just made.

What a dreamer!!! I think he means the relays as Britain is now an officially a relay nation

Untill he himself changes the way he runs and may be lose some weights then he is not going anywhere.

I agree, he needs to learn how to run relaxed, he always has a look/grimace of determination in his face, when he runs.

A look that he never had as a 17, 18 year old.

A relay nation it may be but you should see the effort the american’s are now putting into relays having had thier ass kicked in 2004! In 2005 they change to the push pass and have stepped up relay practices. The GB team are trying to respond to this because with such a strong team and now an emphasis on relays the US will be hard to beat.

As for MLF, well he has a lot to work on for the indoors and I hope he can come through because he has some very stiff competition!

Why is MLF even focusing on the indoor season?? Shouldnt World Champs be the primary focus next year?

mlf is a joke. every few months a new article comes out where he talks about how hard his training is and how he’s improving. Then come competition he looks like a rookie. Talk about talent squandered :rolleyes:

I do agree MLF does look silly when he talks and he comes out and still looks the same or worst in some cases.

I dont think the UK is responding to the states, UK just see the relays as source of possible medals at the world and O’s(this is what uk sports gives the support money on-medals/finalist) rather than find out why the yound kids are not coming through and if they do why cant they progress?

Who do you think his competition would be in Britain then as they never run faster than 6.6 apart from Gardener, Any young kids to look out for indoors?

Yea I do realise the European Indoor Champs is this year…I don’t mean to be insensitive but no indoor meet would take my focus away from World Champs.

Sorry for not making this explicit but this is exactly what the UK 4x100m relay coach told me. You may be able to beat the US when they have poor changeovers but there is no way in hell you can complete when they have 4 guys running 0.1-0.3 faster than your guys AND have good baton changes. So the second part of the 4x100m relay plan for the UK is … make your relay runners faster!!!

As for the kids coming through, well UKA are definitly stepping up the heat because they know they need to get them down into the 10.1 area to win the relays and they are eliciting help from different world class coaches to help thier personal coaches do this. There is definitly a lot more help being put into people like MLF etc… the issue I see is that he is 24 (or whatever it is) and he is now having to make technical changes to progress. The problem with this is that he has a short temper and changing what he always did is going to be very very hard. As for his comment on training hard well I believe it but in terms of progressing I would say that at this precise moment in time he is worse than he was last year!

Problem is that in order to win the world champs he needs to sort out his start (which until recently he didn’t work on). For someone like MLF he needs to be making some money and even if he trained through the EURO indoors I’m not exactly sure how this would help apart from saving his ego a beating!

I agree he needs to sort his start out but unfortunately the coaches in the UK do not work together. surely there must be a coach out there that can help mark lewis francis. There is too much bitchiness wiv the coaches with out mentioning names certain sprint coaches talk bout other athletes/coaches and they aint DOING NUFINK THEMSELVES certain coaches need to recognise.too much talk and not enough coaches producing good athletes

You raise a good and valid point, I read somewhere that he is now getting some help from one of UKA’s coaches on his starts.

The issue though is that untill coaching in Britain becomes professional that bitching would continue. It is a voluntary sector so you have a lot of coaches that are paid by the system and A LOT that are not. As a fan of this sport, I would not expect the results to be the same because if there is something we have learnt from this forum world class athletics results is acheived by world class preparation and planning and this would include these coaches either working together or going out of their way to learn from the other in world. I dont think british coaches do enough of that or do it at all. From the performances it looks like a typical British sports where they are set in their ways.

Of the guys that are supported if the best Britain can produce is not faster than 10.15(with DC) then there is a lot more issues other than bitching there is also possibly something wrong with the structure.

If a uka COACH is helping with his starts then thats a move in the right direction.BUT it seems to me that there are coaches that almost have a sense of pride when it comes to recieving help from coaches. Athletics is a business and LEARNING is VITAL in order to be successful. If there are more coaches who are willing to talk to another coach, and speak freely about what they think of their athlete. Thats the way this coach vs coach thing WILL STOP. and ultimately this is where the athlete will benefit from.(simple dialect). Not all coaches no it all but if you know a coach who is well known for good conditioning an good technique then- Why not ask?or research?

What Niko was trying to do is point out the fact that the indoor champs are in MLF’s home city where he grew up, thats why he is concentrating on the indoors.

Hi there,

What is wrong with having a sense of pride from learning from others or did I mis understan you?
Not knowing the personnel in British track that much I would not mind you mentioning the coaches that you think know about the two areas you have mention in your last post- techique and conditioning. Using this areas two Can you please names coaches in Britain that are good at this 2 things.

The point I am trying to make is that you would not have that many coaches to name. We live in a world in Britain where if someone comes along and says something different from the “so called norm” then he/she is critized and would be made enemies off. This is a trait that exist in every aspect of British sports especially in track where it looks like the "bitching " is really part of the sport with athletes and coaches.

So Please can you name me UK coaches that are proficient in this two areas Conditioning and techique in track and field and tell me how they are passing that knowledge down.

Yes, that was partly my point! Plus, I don’t see one excluding the other anyway, if they are both appropriately planned, I guess -which may be an issue in this particular case, if my understanding of a rather L-to-S approach is correct.

I also agree with certain points raised by Slowspeed attitude-wise.

You have mis understood me however coaches that are known for good conditioning i would say it varys.

Technical coaches- its hard to pin point 1 person. All have there faults and weaknesses, some coaches dont focus on technique and some over emphasize technique. I do not see athletes with outstanding technique within the UK. I believe technique is a natural thing and hard to change as the athlete gets older.