Hot Sprint Showdowns at the Olympic Stadium
The big poster announcing the Munich championships has its own idea about the men´s 100 and 200 meter finals. It shows a black athlete being ahead of his competitors in a sprint finish.
Dwain Chambers (Foto: Kiefner)Obikwelu reaches for first European title
Not a bad guess - at least for the 100 meter distance. 1998 European Champion Darren Campbell and his compatriots, 1998 silver medal winner Dwain Chambers and World Junior Champion Mark Lewis-Francis want to make it a British race. 24-year-old Chambers, who leads the EAA list with a season´s best of 10.03 seconds and who beat world record-holder Maurice Greene twice this year was most likely to win the gold medal ... until the Commonwealth Games: Chambers and Lewis-Francis suffered from cramps in the 100 meter final – while favourite Chambers still hopes to be fit after investigative treatment on his troublesome calf muscle, the young talent will end his season early due to a micro-tear in his right hamstring. So the way to gold is free for ex-Nigerian and new-Portugese Francis Obikwelu who teased the American sprinters Tim Montgomery and Bernard Williams at the Lausanne, Prag and Milan meetings setting his 2002 best to 10.09 seconds.
Kenteris to complete his medal collection with European Gold
Portugal´s Obikwelu will try to win the sprint double but he has to watch out for Olympic and World Champion Konstantinos Kenteris from Greece who leads this year´s European list with 20.18 seconds and is always good for surprises. Both rivals should also have an eye on Poland´s Marcin Urbas who sensationally beat Christian Malcolm from Great Britain at the European Indoor Championships. The British sprinters – who won gold, silver and bronze four years ago – play a minor role in the Olympic stadium: Darren Campbell and Christian Malcolm have not really recovered from injuries earlier this year and are not in their best shape yet. However, Coventry athlete Marlon Devonish seems to have the season of his life producing a personal best of 20.19 seconds at the Commonwealth Games 200 final to win the silver.
The British relay ran the fastest time this year (38.65 seconds) at the European Cup in Annecy. And although their stars Chambers and Lewis-Francis might not be able to run, they have a number of strong sprinters to replace them. So it is unlikely that Marlon Devonish, Christian Malcolm, Allyn Condon and Darren Campbell won´t defend the title. But as anything can happen at relay races, the German relay – who ranks second this year with 38.88 seconds – as well as the Polish, French and Russina relays are also hot (gold) medal candidates.