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Last Updated: Monday, 25 August, 2003, 22:03 GMT 23:03 UK
High octane drama
Steve Cram
By Steve Cram
BBC Sport

So, the 100m final did not yield gold for Britain, or the world record holder, or the American champion. And it was a fantastic race.

Kim Collins is not your usual type of sprinter.

He doesn't have the same build as Dwain Chambers or Maurice Greene, he doesn't talk himself up before races and he doesn't get involved in any of the eye-balling or trash-talking.

Darren Campbell (left) congratulates new 100m world champion Kim Collins
Campbell (left) congratulates new 100m world champion Collins
But when it mattered, he performed - and that's what this final was all about.

It hasn't been a great year for sprinting. That's why the time was so slow, and why any one of the eight men on the starting blocks could have won it.

And so the race will be remembered for how close it was, rather than the times.

As the athletes crossed the line, none of them knew who had snatched gold, particularly Collins out in lane one.

It's time to give Darren Campbell the praise he deserves. He was the only one in the final to run to his ability, by which I mean that almost all the others are capable of going much quicker.

He isn't a 9.9 seconds man. But he has the ability not only to peak for the major championships, time and time again, but also to always produce the goods when it matters.

That's a measure of a really good athlete - to be able to produce when the chips are down.

Darrel Brown, in winning silver at the age of 18, may have shown us the future of 100m sprinting
Steve Cram

Think about it - before the AAAs/World trials in July, we didn't even think Darren would make the team.

He thinks differently about himself than other people do. He comes to races believing he can win, and his bronze medal does him enormous credit.

What can I say about Dwain Chambers? He came to Paris to win gold, and he ended without even a bronze.

He just doesn't run well in a scrap. He needs to feel clear of the pack or else the tension starts to show in his shoulders, and that's what we saw at the Stade de France.

I thought he looked nervous in the semi-final. Sometimes with Dwain you see him in his zone, but I didn't see that today.

In the semis you were looking for someone to step it up. Dwain should have been able to.

Where does he go from here?

It will be really tough for him. He must tell himself that this is not a disaster. Sure, it will hurt - but there is the Olympics next year up for grabs.

He has to remember how good he is. He hasn't become a bad athlete overnight.

But he has to become more consistent. He ran 9.87secs last year, but he needs to go regularly under 10 seconds. That is what Mo Greene did, and it is the mark of a great sprinter.

As for Darrel Brown - well, in winning silver at the age of 18 he may have shown us the future of 100m sprinting.

He was only a hundredth of a second away from taking gold, which would have made him the youngest winner of a major 100m title in living memory.

More importantly, he wasn't even slightly intimidated by being in a World Championship final, surrounded by the biggest names in his event.

He ran a personal best in the semi and followed that with another run under 10.1secs, right when it mattered most.

You can probably start pencilling him in as the new star of the 100m.





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