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  Full interview: Mark Lewis-Francis
Updated 05 May 2004, 16.58
Mark Lewis-Francis
There are just 100 days to go until the Olympics is set to begin in Athens and Britain's top athletes are getting ready to race for a place.

Newsround spoke to Mark Lewis Francis, the 21 year old sprinter hoping to represent Britain this summer.


Tell us about what you're hoping to achieve at the Olympics if you qualify?
Obviously I'm going there to win a medal - I don't know what kind of medal I want yet but obviously a gold would be nice. I'm just going there to have some fun - it's an experience more than anything else.

Who in this country do you see as your main competitors?
Really and truly it's me against the world - whoever's on the track, it's me against them. Whoever's lining up on the day really - everyone's a competitor.

And why are you off to Cyprus soon?
I'm going to Cyprus for one month of training where a training partner and I will be focusing on the main things like sharpening up and getting faster, focusing on the main competition that's coming up.

We're going to be out there for about three weeks, it's fine tuning really more than anything else.

What's the next big meet at Gateshead on June 27th all about?
Gateshead is a great meet - great athletes always turn up. My main competitor is Kim Collins [ World 100m champion] , the guy who beat me in the Commonwealth Games. It would be nice to go to Gateshead and hopefully win. I'm going to go there an try my best.

What's your personal best and what do you hope to knock off your time?
I've ran 10.4 seconds and I've ran 9.97seconds wind aided. Obviously it would be nice to run under 10 seconds. Every 100m athlete wants to run sub 10 seconds.

What about the trials coming up in July?
The trials are the AAA championships, the main event for qualifying for the Olympic Games.

In the 100m it's the first three past the post, which is going to be a bit exciting and nerve wracking at the same time.

The main guys going there in my event are Darren Campbell, Jason Gardener and probably Tyrone Edgar, which should be exciting.

How long have you been competing in races?
I've been competing since the age of 12, my first race was when I was 13.

My dad bought me down to the stadium, I met my coach and it just all started from there.

I've raced thousands and thousands of races since then, I can't even put a number on it.

But it's all been exciting, they've all been different experiences.

How do you focus in the track?
It's more adrenaline than anything else - you're nervous and you just want to race, get the race over and done with.

The focus comes naturally - you stand in the line and you know what you want from the start.

[With me] I try and block out everything - I try not to look into the crowd and just focus on the race.

What are the benefits of athletics at your level?
You get a lot of benefits, you get to travel around the world, you get to see a lot of places and meet great athletes.

I've met some of the best athletes in the world and to actually compete against some of them - it's just amazing.

And that just inspires me to carry on doing what I'm doing.

Have you got any advice for a 12-year-old who wants to be a 100m champion?
Obviously it's a bit of discipline, determination and sacrifice. Those are the main things that you really have to go for.

If you want to be a 100m champion, if you want to be an athlete, you're going to have to sacrifice a lot of things and work hard at it - nothing comes easy.

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