AUSTRALIA’S Patrick Johnson faces his most severe test yet when he races America’s world record-holder Tim Montgomery over 100m in Osaka, Japan, at 5.30pm Saturday.

Johnson became the first Australian to break the 10sec barrier which he clocked a wind-legal 9.93sec in Mito on Monday to become the fastest man in the world so far this year.

In this interview with Montgomery told MIKE HURST he expects a great race.
Montgomery also revealed he expects to run under 9.90sec.

Montgomery and his partner, Marion Jones, who won five medals including the sprint double at the Sydney Olympics, upset the athletics establishment when they sought out Ben Johnson’s old coach, Charlie Francis, for coaching last November.

By early February they were reluctantly forced to leave Francis, but while Jones is pregnant and will therefore miss the world championships in Paris in August, Montgomery is eager to show what he has learned from the technically brilliant Francis.

However in Mexico City last weekend Montgomery finished second in 10.04sec running in his first race since setting the world record of 9.78sec last September.

QUESTION: What do you expect to achieve in Osaka? I guess you want to clean up your start based on the Mexico race.
MONTGOMERY: Mexico was the first race except for a relay run. I’ve been training by myself. I’ve been making a lot of changes in my race. And I was looking to be a little rusty.
I actually was a lot better than I thought I would be. With a terrible reaction _ and running against guys who have been running all year long _ and coming through the field like I did I’m very, very pleased.
I know it's a long season and I know that by just fixing it a little bit I'm back where I was and that's the most incredible thing. See, also I think that’s the most nervous I ever been in any race.’’

QUESTION: It’s hard when you have the world record and the burden of carrying that around with you.
MONTGOMERY: It's not just the title. I've been going through a lot of other things, with the Charlie Francis stuff, with everything. For me not to have a clean season, of clear mind, just training, coaches change, Charlie Francis situation, enjoying my world record, enjoying my new relationship [with Marion Jones]. You know, I haven’t had the chance to do all that.
``So it’s like a handicap and to go out there and to still be quite equal with all the other runners, to be right with them in my first race I’m excited.’’

QUESTION: What do you think of Patrick Johnson who has just run sub-10sec?
MONTGOMERY: I just congratulated him on the track. I just went up to him and say: `Welcome to the sub-10s. Hopefully you get to the sub-7s [9.7sec], but I hope not too soon.' This [Osaka race] is a great challenge to me. I can see where I’m at against someone who is running great early.
Everything right now that I'm going through is a measure to where I'm going to be at [US] Trials and at world championship. You know what I’m saying? Unlucky for me that I hold the world record. For the public it may cost me when they say oh man, he's the world record-holder.' But for myself I'm quite pleased, you know. ``Coming from Mexico, I know what I did wrong. I stood straight up and did a lot of things wrong but I still did a great race. ``I lost a nine-eighty [9.80sec] race in Mexico and I can feel it and I'm overjoyed with that, you know what I'm saying? You can hear it in my conversation. ``Before I went to Mexico if you had asked me what you think, I would say oh this is the first one. I don’t have no guage’.
``I left Trevor Graham to get better. And with the public not letting me progress with the person [Charlie Francis] that I knew could help me, then for what I’ve got going on now I’m pleased. What could I do if he was around!’’

QUESTION: It must be awfully hard not to have a master coach with you all the time. Are you comfortable with that or are you looking around?
MONTGOMERY: Oh yeah I'm looking for an alternative but right now I don't want to jump into no coaching situation until Marion's back ready to train and we agree on him. It won't make no sense for me to make a decision without affecting her. We got a relationship where we're spending our life together, we're planning on being together forever. So we want to make sure the situation is grand and it's the best person. You know the next coach, I want him to take me for the rest of my career. Both of us. It got to be a coach that knows 200m, 100m, long jump, all around.
So for myself I think I'm showing great character for what I'm doing right now and it shows people a lot about Tim Montgomery that this guy is really talented. He don't need no expert to just straight make him run fast. If you took Maurice Greene away from John Smith we don’t know what he’ll be. It’s kind of showing everyone that gosh this guy came on his first race 10.04sec. That’s the second time I’ve come to the track since September 14 [when he set the world record in the IAAF grand prix final in Paris].’’

QUESTION: Can you tell me what Patrick Johnson said to you? Did he seem happy you came up and spoke to him?
MONTGOMERY: Yes. He was very happy. He told me good job and talked to me about the pressure I've been under. I look forward to seeing how he races 93 [9.93sec]. That’s the sort of runner I am.
``I look forward to getting beside him and running against him just to see what his race is. It may be at the beginning, it may be in the middle or at the end.’’

QUESTION: He’s pretty good from 20m-50m. That sets up everything that comes later.
MONTGOMERY: Oh that would be great for me. Now we've got a race on our hands. Jon Drummond in Mexico [third in 10.07sec] was out so quick, I thought oh God did he jump the gun?
But if Patrick races like that, you're going to see a great race then. I’m really excited. This is a challenge. I’m in great shape. Like I said, circumstances being what they be, I wasn’t as focussed as I should be. Now, not being as rusty as I was in that first race, now that I’ve settled down, I can come back in this race right here and see where where we at.
``I love a great fight to the finish.’’

QUESTION: Well this guy’s in shape to give you one. If he can stay relaxed.
MONTGOMERY: ``That’s the whole test you know. And just last week he PR’d and his body may be going through a down phase because you need about 10 days [to recover from neural fatigue after a significant personal best].’’

QUESTION: I agree and I'm kind of surprised under the circumstances that he's also lining up to run a 4x100m relay before the individual race. Then again I hear you are trying to run a relay as well. MONTGOMERY: I’m just racing. You know a lot of people are coming off racing indoor, he [Johnson] ran a lot of races over in Australia prior to here. For me, I’m just getting into the groove. It’s great for me, so the relay it come nicely, set me for the rounds what I’m going to face in my trials.’’

QUESTION: What leg would you run if you run a relay? The anchor?
MONTGOMERY: I may make it easy on myself and run the anchor or make it a little harder on myself and run second. We've got two hours before the final [the individual 100m race]. It will be a fast race, the individual 100m.
``The track is good, everything is good. It’s great.’’

QUESTION: Do you think there’s any chance of going under 9.90sec so soon?
MONTGOMERY: ``Yeah. There is. Very much so. I don’t know about him [Johnson] but there is very much so for me.’’

QUESTION: I love the way you do business. Thanks for your time and good luck.
MONTGOMERY: ``No problem, thank you. A lot of people have not been supportive. You have been very supportive so, you know, thank you.’’


Tim sounds like a classy guy. It is sad that in some situations people will not forget and let others move on, forcing Tim and Marion to change their coaching environment again. Even a German track mag covered the story about Tim and Marion, referring to the past. But then, the Germans have always used natural methods to get better, so they can afford to point fingers.

dcw23 ,i think you have just uncovered a hidden hierarcy among the top sprinters - the fastest guy gets to point with both hands while the new kid on the block only uses one…

Damn! The Australian Press know more about sprinting than most coaches do!:clap:

The “press” is our own “Kit Kat”!