Regis determined to catch fire for Olympics

Mike Rowbottom previews an important weekend for British athletes

British athletics will welcome back a familiar figure at Birmingham today as John Regis makes his domestic seasonal debut in the Ricoh International.

But Regis's coach, Mike McFarlane, identifies a difference in him - quite simply, he has never worked so hard.

After the disappointments of the last two years - when a combination of injuries and an unsettling disagreement with the British Athletic Federation over pay undermined his performances - he is determined to get Olympic year right. "He has been training like a demon," said his coach, Mike McFarlane. "It's like he's been possessed."

Regis, a silver medallist in the 1993 World Championships, knows that at 29 he is still capable of making a major impact on world sprinting. And his winning 200m time of 20.77sec last weekend in Stuttgart gave an indication of the kind of form he is in.

Today he faces the world indoor champion, Geir Moen of Norway, who took the European title two years ago after Regis had been forced to drop out of the championships with an Achilles tendon injury.

Two of Britain's younger talents, Iwan Thomas and Jason Gardener, also face world indoor champions at 400m and 60m respectively.

Thomas, 22, is in the form of his life as he lines up against Darnell Hall of the United States. At 6ft 2in and 13st, the young Welshman announced himself with a career-best of 45.22sec last week in South Africa, which took him to the top of the early world outdoor rankings for the year.

"I was happily shocked," he admitted. "I've not really done any speed work yet. It means I can aim for an Olympic place, at least in the relay. For an individual spot I will have to be looking at going under 45 seconds."

The former teenage BMX bike international also faces two other British contenders - the European champion, Du'aine Ladejo, who has recovered from the injuries which marred last year, and the European junior champion, Mark Hylton, who ran a personal best of 46.45sec indoors last weekend.

Gardener has the biggest indoor challenge of his career after running a sizzling 6.55 for the 60m on the same track a fortnight ago.

It might be expecting too much for the 20-year-old from Bath to match Canada's Bruny Surin, who followed his title win with a 100m silver medal behind his compatriot Donovan Bailey at the outdoor World Championships in Gothenburg.

But his more established domestic rivals, Darren Braithwaite and Mike Rosswess, will need to be on their mettle to withstand him.

Sally Gunnell continues her comeback in Britain's showpiece winter meeting with a 400m against Sandra Farmer-Patrick of the United States, whom she beat narrowly in the 1993 World Championship 400m hurdles.

And Mozambique's Maria Mutola will seek a world 1000m record after announcing Olympic plans which will certainly interest Britain's new middle distance No 1, Kelly Holmes.

Mutola says she plans to double up at 800 and 1500m in Atlanta. Holmes, bronze and silver medalist in Gothenburg, is considering whether to do the same, or concentrate on one event.

News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own