Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and
Reports

Mark Lewis-Francis (August 2011)

I talked to Mark Lewis-Francis (28) at the Hilton in London, just before he competed at Crystal Palace where he narrowly missed running in the Final of the 100. I realised he still has the fire of competition in his veins, to run at the highest level of sprinting for some time in the future.
   Mark Anthony Lewis-Francis, born 4th of September 1982, has had a chequered career as a sprinter and it was back when he was a teenager he ran his fastest 100m times of an unratified 9.97 in 2001 and an official 10.01 in Paris in 2002.
   After a period of injury he had a resurgence last year, gaining a silver medal in the Final of the European and Commonwealth 100m Championships, as well as a third place in the Continental Cup (World Cup) in 10.16.
   Mark Lewis-Francis is a Birchfield Harrier and known locally as the "Dalton Dart"  


The ' Dalton Dart' is taped

      " What brought you into athletics originally"
 
" From a very young age, I remember doing Sports Day at infants school and junior school. I had always been the quickest in my school.My Dad Shaun Lewis Francis noticed that. My Dad was born in England but he grew up in Jamaica and came back to England when he was 18."
   " You have had some successes as well and some disappointments in your career. "
   " I think my first ever success was  when I won a silver medal in the European Juniors.It was my first ever major Junior Championships.The year after that I won the World Junior Championships. (In 2000 in Chile 1 Mark Lewis Francis 10.12; 2 Salem Mohammed Al-Yami KSA 10.38, 3 Marc Burns Trinidad 10.40 also MLF was in the winning 4x100 relay team).' That made me really stick at it and get my head down and to carry on to where I am now."
   " You  have had a lot of disappointments as well as successes. Do you think that has made you stronger.
and you came back to win European and Commonwealth silvers last year"

   'That's right.'
    " Of all the races you have done which one's would you chose as being so special to you"
   " I think all the races I have done have all their own little unique part to play. I can't really section out one of them because they all play an important role in my athletics career.'
' The European silver medal was a kick start. It gave me the belief, the confidence to go out there and be a Champion. 'Before that a lot of people were writing me off saying that, I had my chances, I should retire, at 28 years old.'
' What is the point of retiring when there is a lot to go for. (European Championships Barcelona 2010. First Six:- 1 Christophe Lemaitre 10.11, 2 Mark Lewis Francis 10.18, 3 Martial Mbandjock 10.18, 4 Francis Obikwelu 10.18, 5 Dwain Chambers 10.18, 6 Jaysuma Sady Ndure  10.31)
" You have got a love for the sport and friends in it"
" Most definitely.This is my life; this is what I do best. I enjoy athletics, the adrenalin, experience and you travel a lot and meet good people. I think I have still got a lot to give to the sport. For me to give up now I would almost see as a waste of time.'
   " Your coach now is Linford Christie which is quite something"  
" He is a legend. He brought me back from a lot of injuries and brought me back to today."
  " Are there races that are special to you"
   " My World Junior and obviously the OLYMPIC GOLD in 2004 in Athens, that is one that is close to my heart.
That was the start of many great things. If I could relive that in 2012 it would be great!. ( Olympics 2004 4x100 1 GBR Jason Gardener, Darren Campbell, Marlon Devonish and anchor Mark Lewis-Francis --38.07, 2 USA 38.08, 3 Nigeria 38.23)."
      " Are their people in the past that you have admired as Great sprinters"
   " I  have to say they are all 'Greats'. Linford Christie, Donavan Bailey, even to people just retired like Darren Campbell and Jason Gardner. Those guys were inspirational to me. Those guys I used to go out and watch and they inspired me to dig in and do well. I had the pleasure of running with a lot of those guys and being coached by one of the best sprinters that has ever come out of Britain, which is LInford Christie. The Knowledge of Ron Rodden as well.I am in a good place, getting the knowledge of those guys I think the World is at my feet really. It is for me to buckle up ideas and get things right."
   You had one Commonwealth when everything went wrong but that is part and parcel of the experience. Roger Black said to me 'It's the journey that counts'
  " We all have to experience a bit of a journey. My journey has been a bit rough. I think I am starting to see a bit of a smooth road.I think there is a lot more to come'
 Getting those silver medals must have given you a feeling of carrying on to do well in the future
   Definitely and basically that is it..

Alastair Aitken

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