Tag Archives: Darrel Brown

Britain’s Got [Sprinting] Talent

Adam Gemili sure is impressive. He lowered his 2011 personal best in the 100m dash by a massive 0.27s, when he ran 10.08s in Regensburg yesterday. He has already hurdled the Olympic “A” standard and is the fastest Briton this Olympic season. He had beaten his older and more illustrious compatriots, among them 2004 Olympic 4x100m relay gold medalist Mark Lewis-Francis (10.21s) and 2010 World Indoor champion Dwain Chambers (10.28s).

Read: “Sprinter Gemili says: I’m raring to go for the Olympics”

The former footballer has run the fastest 100m time this year by a junior. In the all-time juniors 100m list, only fourteen men had run quicker (Trinidadian Darrel Brown holds the World Junior record of 10.01s). Gemili is in good company, with Justin Gatlin also running 10.08s as a junior. In fact, the young Briton has bettered such fine names like Francis Obikwelu (10.10s) and, believe it or not, Yohan Blake (10.11s).

Interestingly, the British are well-represented in this list, with Lewis-Francis (9.97s, albeit with a malfunctioning wind gauge) and Chambers (10.06s) occupying prominent spots. With such depth of sprinting talent, it’s quandary why British men have been left out of the Olympic 100m dash final in the last two editions of the games.

Gemili still has to finish in the top two at the British Olympic trials, for him to earn an outright slot in the century dash. The prospects for the host nation’s relay team looks bright, with the resurgent Lewis-Francis, the brooding Chambers, and the talented Gemili in the spot light. It would take a minor miracle for the British, or the Americans for that matter, to beat an in-form Jamaican quartet in the 4x100m. Against such quality opposition, a medal of any color will be god-sent for the hosts.

Kim Collins’ Second Wind

The come-backing Kim Collins is on fire!

He  retired at the end of the 2009 Berlin World Championships, but returned to high-level competition early this year. In several indoor meets in Germany, the sprinter from the small island country of Saint Kitts and Nevis, rewrote the 2011 top lists twice. He stopped the clock at 6.52s in Dusseldorf. A few days later, he bettered this mark by two-hundredths of second in Karlsruhe. Unfortunately, a thigh injury prevented Collins from replicating his razor sharp form in the final.

The 34-year old had won his fair share of accolades. Collins was crowned world champion in the 100m dash in 2003. Aside from this, he had won a bronze in the same event in Helsinki 2005 and a 200m bronze at the 2001 Edmonton World Championships.

In Paris, Collins outclassed a star-studded (some, steroid-laced) field which included the likes of disgraced former world record holder Tim Montgomery and Briton Dwain Chambers. From Lane 1, Collins had a blistering start. He clung on first place (10.07s) in a blanket finish with 100m world junior record holder Darrel Brown (10.08s) from Trinidad and Tobago and Britain’s Darren Campbell (10.08s).

It was the slowest winning time in Championship history, tying Carl Lewis’ 10.07s time at the inaugural edition in Helsinki back in 1983.  Nevertheless, a world champion is still a world champion. Not many elite athletes can call themselves that.

To be honest, I only appreciated the significance of Collins’ feat whilst writing this entry. Compared to his competitors, the Caribbean sprinter was minuscule in terms of both height and heft. He was far from the stereotype of a burly speedster. There were no brash displays of arrogance when he won; Collins did not showboat. He just smiled as he proudly waved his island country’s flag, basking under the warmth of his first major crown.

Collins last dipped below the 10-second barrier in 2003, where he ran 9.99s in Zurich. He has a personal best of 9.98s from way back in 2002 and 2003 (he ran this four times) – modest by today’s standards. He has qualified for the Olympic 100m dash final twice, in Sydney and in Athens. In Beijing, the affable Collins placed 6th in the 200m final.

It’s good to see old hands such as Collins achieve stellar marks. He has claimed the scalp of fiery upstarts like Mike Rodgers and the under-performing Christophe Lemaitre. Rodgers is 9-years younger than Collins, whilst Lemaitre is around 14-years Collins’  junior. At the rate Collins is going, he might just surprise everyone (but himself!) in Daegu come August!

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