Chambers presence inspires Lewis-Francis

Sprint star Mark Lewis-Francis says the presence of Dwain Chambers means he has to raise his game to reach the British Olympic team.


Lewis-Francis and Chambers came through their respective heats at the UK trials on Friday. On Saturday they will enter the semi-finals and final .

Speaking to Eurosport ahead of the weekend, Lewis-Francis said Chambers poses a massive challenge.

“I’ve no problem with Dwain Chambers,” he said. “He’s an amazing sprinter and been a main rival of mine for years.

“We all know about the ban but he has been allowed back and into the Olympics, if he qualifies: I welcome him back and will have to raise my game. He is the man to beat.”

Lewis-Francis is one of many British sprint stars to have struggled to achieve the Games qualifying standard ahead of the trials – including Chambers.

But the ‘Darlaston Dart’, who is coached by Barcelona gold medallist Linford Christie, says that reaching the final of the 100 in London in August is a realistic goal – and that he can achieve even more.

“My goal is to make the Olympic final. Anything can happen then: look at Usain Bolt false-starting in the World Championship final last year,” he continued.

“Reaching the final would be a big achievement in itself. The 100m is on fire at the moment, with a lot of guys running fast times.

“I’m ranked No.1 in the UK. But I’m trying to keep my feet on the ground: there’s a lot of talent around, I’ve just got to keep my legs turning!”

“I’ve got a good coach and mentor in Linford, someone who has Europeanm, world, Olympic and Commonwealth medals – he’s been there and done it, worn the crowns.

“I’d love to say the same.”

However it has been difficult for Lewis-Francis to realise his dreams after the withdrawal of his Olympic funding.

“I lost my funding when I got injured. It’s hard to hold down a full-time job while trying to be a world-class athlete: I’ve had to fund myself through local sponsorship,” he said.

“My manager Ricky Simms and my club the Birchfield Harriers have helped me through.”

Lewis-Francis joined sports scientist Professor Greg Whyte on The Mall in London recently to investigate the parallels between the acceleration of a world class sprinter and a high-perfroamnce car.

Racing against a BMW, he had mixed results.

“I raced the BMW 320 diesel over five, 10, 20 and 30m. It’s all about acceleration,” he said.

“You see how acceleration affects the contest – it’s a useful training aid!”

London 2012 Performance team member and 100m sprinter Mark Lewis-Francis tested his acceleration on the Mall against a BMW 320d EfficientDynamics from the London 2012 fleet

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so that everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.