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Friday, 14 February, 2003, 16:20 GMT
Cram: Young guns go for it

Highlights at 1650, Sunday Grandstand, BBC Two

The best way to look at the European Indoor Cup is as a chance for some of Britain's youngsters to show what they are made of.

The event itself - well, I'm not a huge fan of it.

I can understand the thinking that, if you have an outdoor European Cup, you should have an indoor one - but then, I'm not a huge fan of the outdoor one either.

I can certainly understand why many of Britain's big names have opted to give it a miss and concentrate on their preparations for the World Indoors.

UK Athletics' performance director Max Jones won't have twisted too many arms as a result.

Michael East smiles after winning Commonwealth 1500m gold.
East smiles after winning Commonwealth 1500m gold
But the young guns can make a name for themselves. And there are still places up for grabs in the British team for the World Indoors next month, and not that many opportunities left to prove yourself.

I'm looking forward to seeing Michael East in action over 1500m.

Michael's big weapon is his speed. He is quick enough to win races if they are tactical affairs, but he is tactially astute as well.

He seems to put himself in the right position at the right time, and it is that that counts for as much as anything else.

You have to be in the correct position to use your speed, and most of the time he is able to do that - partly because his stamina is good too.

He has done the right thing this winter in mixing cross country with indoor races. This way he gives himself a good strength platform for the summer.

Indoors a distraction

Athletes are tempted to run indoors these days more often than they were in the past, simply because the rewards have got much greater.

15 years ago, hardly one would bother with the indoors. Even today, if I were advising a middle-distance runner I'd tell them to stick with the country.

The indoors can become a distraction. If you start going well, the temptation is to do more and more races.

For Michael, however, the indoors were the springboard to his successes outdoors in the summer.

The danger this year is that too much is expected of him. He won the Commonwealths last year in a race that another day he might not have won, and it will be tough.

The World Championships will be a step up for him - but that said, he has the rare trick of producing his best on the big ocasions.

He is not frightened or intimidayed by big names. And because championship races are rarely run at record-breaking pace, he will always have a chance.

Indoor Athletics 2003

Stockholm

NU Grand Prix

European Indoor Cup

Ghent

Sparkassen

NU International

WEBSITE
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10 Feb 03 | Athletics
Links to more Athletics stories are at the foot of the page.


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