Louie Hinchliffe wants ‘no regrets’ at Paris Olympics after qualifying for 100m

Louie Hinchliffe insists he will head to Paris with no expectations but believing he can win after storming to the forefront of the British sprinting scene.

The Sheffield athlete continued his dramatic rise under the coaching of Olympic great Carl Lewis as he powered to victory in the men’s 100 metres at the Microplus UK Athletics Championships in Manchester on Saturday.

With a fastest time of 9.95 seconds under his belt this year, the US collegiate champion’s latest victory, in a time of 10.18 in cold and wet conditions, secured him a spot on Team GB for this summer’s Olympics.

Louie Hinchliffe (centre) wins the Men’s 100m final during day one of the Olympic Trials and UK Athletics Championships in Manchester
Hinchliffe has a fastest time of 9.95 seconds this year (David Davies/PA)

“I won’t really have any expectations,” said the 21-year-old. “I’ll just go into it with not much in my head, no predictions. I’ll just try and get the win, basically.

“That’s always the main goal. I just want to leave there with no regrets. It should be fine.”

Hinchliffe’s success on Saturday was a far cry from his appearance at the same national championships two years ago when he failed to qualify from his heat.

Since then a switch of universities from Lancaster to Houston, where he has been taken under the wing of nine-time Olympic gold medallist Lewis, has yielded dramatic results.

“Two years ago these guys were beating me by a large margin,” said Hinchliffe, who prior to going to university wanted to pursue a career in golf rather than athletics.

“To be coming away with a win against this group of guys is crazy.

“I didn’t take it that seriously before. Now I’ve got the right people around me. I’m getting pushed every day, working hard.

“I dropped out one of the best colleges in Lancaster to go try to do track and field in the States. At the time it felt like a dumb decision, but it’s paid off for me.

“Carl’s made a massive difference. He’s a nine-time Olympic champion but he’s also well-accomplished in lots of other areas. He keeps me on the right track.”

Lewis, who was watching trackside in the Manchester rain as Hinchliffe triumphed on Saturday, has no doubt his charge can get even quicker.

The American, who won two of his Olympic golds in the 100m in 1984 and 1988, said: “We still have a way to go. The challenge now is getting faster.

“The faster you run, the harder it is to get faster but if we focus on what we can control, look at the aspects of his race that we can improve on, he’ll run faster.

Carl Lewis, wearing a cap and coat, watches the UK Athletics Championships in Manchester
Carl Lewis was watching as Hinchliffe secured his Team GB spot (David Davies/PA)

“We have things that we know specifically we can do to get faster, not just hope he gets faster.”

As well as his speed, Hinchliffe also cuts a distinctive figure with his mullet hairstyle.

He said: “I was just watching something on TV and I thought that haircut looks good. So I took a picture of it and showed it to the barber and he did this.

“It’s probably bad luck if I get rid of it now! I’ve got to stick with it.”