Campbell set to shun relay place to pursue full fitness

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The Independent Online

Darren Campbell, Britain's Olympic 200 metres silver medallist, has been left out of Britain's individual selections for the World Championships, which start on Friday week.

The 28-year-old Belgrave Harrier, who has struggled to recover from a hamstring injury, still has a place in the relay squad, but after speaking to the UK Athletics sprint coach Graham Knight last night, Campbell – who finished last in Sunday's 200m at the Norwich Union Grand Prix, and seventh in the 100m – is expected to announce today that he will not be making the trip to Edmonton. Instead, he will seek to recover full fitness after the hamstring injury he incurred in May while running the relay for Belgrave at the European Clubs' Cup in Madrid.

"It's 60-40 against Darren going," said the UK Athletics Performance Director, Max Jones, yesterday after announcing the final British choices for Edmonton. "When you are an Olympic medallist you don't want to see anyone else go out and achieve things while you are sat there thinking what might have been. Darren indicated to us after running on Sunday that he wasn't in shape to run the individual. He doesn't want to go to Edmonton if he is not 100 per cent fit. I can understand his dilemma."

Campbell's decision is bound to impact upon the chances of Britain's sprint relay team, which expressed a collective intention earlier this season of challenging the US quartet for the world title.

Jones questioned yesterday whether that analysis was sensible but he was confident that the likely quartet in Campbell's absence – Dwain Chambers, who took the one remaining 200m place yesterday after his victory on Sunday in a personal best of 20.31, Christian Malcolm, who will also double up after being awarded the third 100m place, Marlon Devonish and Mark Lewis-Francis – could perform to a high standard.

"They all know each other, and they have all practised together," Jones said. "The big question mark is whether they will all end up in one piece come the end of the championships."

It is a wretched outcome for Campbell, who has already had to overcome a potentially career-wrecking knee injury sustained in a car accident just before Christmas, and whose first competitions while warm weather training in California early in May – 10.16sec for the 100, and 20.4 for the 200 – indicated that he was ready to make another step up in a career which has already brought him the European 100m title as well as his Olympic medal.

His target for this season had been to become the first Briton to record a sub-10sec 100 metres and a sub-20sec 200m, something even his mentor Linford Christie never managed. Now he faces a race to that goal against his friend Chambers.

The two remaining 400 metres places behind Mark Richardson, who has won all three of his races since returning to action following the lifting of his doping ban last month, were filled by the world indoor champion Daniel Caines and the man he inherited that title from, Jamie Baulch. Despite finishing second in the trials, Iwan Thomas failed to earn the qualifying mark, missing it by one tenth of a second on Sunday.

Caines missed the trials with a calf injury, but did enough in Sunday's 400m to indicate he is on his way back to fitness, finishing fifth in 45.87sec. Baulch was an unimpressive last in 46.32, but was selected on the strength of his qualifying time from last year and in the hope that he will rediscover his former buoyancy in the course of running at Edmonton.

"Like Iwan, Jamie is not unfit and not injured, he's just lacking in confidence," Jones said.

As expected, Anthony Borsumato claimed the third 400m hurdles place after beating the European under-23 champion, Matt Elias, in a run-off Sunday.

In the women's selection, Vernicha James, who turned 17 last month, was offered an individual run in the 200 metres following Saturday's victory at the European Junior Championships in a UK age best of 22.93sec. "Vernicha's coach and agent have indicated that she will only run in the relay, but we haven't spoken to the athlete herself yet," Jones said.


MEN (capt: Bob Weir): 100m: D Chambers (Belgrave H), M Lewis-Francis (Birchfield H), C Malcolm (Cardiff). 200m: Chambers, M Devonish (Coventry Godiva), Malcolm. 400m: J Baulch (Cardiff), D Caines (Birchfield H), M Richardson (Windsor). 1500m: A Graffin (Tonbridge H), J Mayock (Barnsley), A Whiteman (Shaftesbury). 5,000m: K Keska (Birchfield H). 110m H: P Gray (Cardiff), D Greaves (Newham & Essex), T Jarrett (Enfield & Haringey). 400m H: A Borsumato (Sale H), C Rawlinson (Belgrave H), D Thorne-Ladejo (Birchfield H). High jump: B Challenger (Belgrave H). Pole vault: N Buckfield (Crawley). Triple jump: L Achike (Shafesbury), J Edwards (Gateshead H), P Idowu (Belgrave H). Shot: M Proctor (Newham & Essex). Discus: B Weir (Birchfield H). Hammer: M Jones (Belgrave H). Javelin: S Backley (Cambridge H), M Hill (Leeds City), N Nieland (Shaftesbury). Decathlon: D Macey (Harrow). 4x100m: J Barbour (Blackheath H), D Bignall (Enfield & Haringey), Campbell, Chambers, Devonish, Lewis Francis, Malcolm. 4x400m: S Baldock (Belgrave H), Baulch, T Benjamin (Cardiff), Caines, M Hylton (Windsor), Richardson, I Thomas (Newham & Essex).

WOMEN (capt: Paula Radcliffe): 100m: S Anderson (Shaftesbury), A Oyepitan (Shaftesbury), M Richardson (Windsor). 200m: V James (Belgrave). 400m: D Fraser (Croydon), K Merry (Birchfield), C Murphy (Shaftesbury). 800m: K Holmes (Ealing). 1500m: H Pattinson (Preston), H Tullett (Swansea). 5,000m: K Butler (Gladstone), J Pavey (Bristol), H Yelling (Windsor). 10,000m: P Radcliffe (Bedford). 400m H: N Danvers (Shaftesbury), S Dudgeon (Edinburgh), K Maddox (Sale). High jump: S Jones (Trafford). Pole vault: J Whitlock (Trafford). Triple jump: A Hansen (Shaftesbury). Hammer: L Shaw (Sale). Heptathlon: D Lewis (Birchfield). 4x100m: D Allahgreen (Liverpool), Anderson, A Forrester (Stoke), James, J Maduaka (Woodford), Oyepitan, Richardson, S Wilhelmy (Southend). 4x400m: Curbishley, Dudgeon, Fraser, H Frost (Birchfield), L McConnell (Shaftesbury), Merry, Murphy, L Owusu (Windsor).