Athletics: Lewis-Francis set for Poland after change of heart

After winning here a year ago, Mark Lewis-Francis looked ahead to the European Cup, which comes up in Bydgozcz next weekend and vowed he would never, ever go back to the Polish venue where he had won the world youth title in 1999.

After winning here a year ago, Mark Lewis-Francis looked ahead to the European Cup, which comes up in Bydgozcz next weekend and vowed he would never, ever go back to the Polish venue where he had won the world youth title in 1999.

But the 21-year-old's 100 metres win here yesterday means he will almost certainly have to reconsider his stance when the European Cup selection is completed today. Asked whether he would accept a place in Poland if offered, he replied: "Of course. I would never turn down a Great Britain spot.

"I'm a lot more confident than I was last season. If I'd run like that last year I wouldn't have had the confidence to come and run here like I did today."

While Lewis-Francis was announcing his prodigious early-season form, the two other most likely contenders for the European Cup 100m place were performing less sparklingly in Erfurt. Jason Gardener, who underwent a hernia operation within a week of winning the world indoor 60m title in Budapest three months ago, finished third at the German venue in 10.29sec, while Darren Campbell, who opened his season with a 10.28 in Mexico last month, failed to reach the final, clocking 10.32.

Lewis-Francis rounded off his afternoon at the Bedford International Games by anchoring a relay team to victory in 39.24, which strengthened their claims for an Olympic place at Athens two months from now.

Following the two-year doping ban which was imposed on Dwain Chambers in February, the relay performances in which he was involved last year - culminating in a silver-medal finish at the World Championships - were annulled. With the times that were left, Britain dropped from second to 15th in the international table, and with only the top 16 qualifying for the Olympics, their place in Athens looked less than secure.

Yesterday's time of 39.24sec by a quartet that also featured Christian Malcolm, Chris Lambert and Julian Golding, lifted Britain by one place. With further opportunities coming up at Bydgozcz, and then Gateshead on 27 June, Britain should be able to make their place in the Athens secure.

Lewis-Francis was not the only athlete to make hay while the sun shone here. Kelly Sotherton, who moved up to second place in this year's world heptathlon rankings following last month's performance in Gotzis, set personal bests in the 200m with 23.57sec, and 13.29sec in the 100m hurdles.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

MBDA UK Ltd: Mission Planning and Control Solutions Systems Engineer

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? A pro-act...

MBDA UK Ltd: System Design Capability

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? The small...

Recruitment Genius: Time Served Fabricator / Welders - Immediate Start

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fabricator welder required for ...

Recruitment Genius: Inbound Customer Service Advisors

£14564 - £15311 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Inbound Customer Service Adviso...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific