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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 August, 2004, 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK
Campbell fuels Johnson feud
British sprinter Darren Campbell
British sprinter Darren Campbell has hit back at fierce criticism from BBC pundit Michael Johnson, after he failed to make the 100m and 200 finals.

Olympic legend Johnson cast doubt on Campbell's claims to have torn his hamstring during pre-Olympic training.

"It's disgraceful to be ridiculed like that," said Campbell, who suggested he could still run in the 4x100m relay.

"I tore my hamstring. If they want to see the scans they can, I don't lie and I don't quit."

Campbell, who took silver in the 200m at Sydney in 2000, added: "I don't know how to give up."

The Briton allegedly confronted Johnson, the 400m world record holder and former Olympic champion, at a party hosted by MTV in an Athens nightclub after the race on Wednesday evening.

His agent Sue Barrett told the London Evening Standard: "Darren told him [Johnson], 'I'm not happy about what you've been saying about me' and Johnson replied, 'That's my opinion.'

It's a small tear but for a sprinter it's a fairly significant injury
GB&I team doctor Brian English

"When Darren said, 'Let's get this straight. Are you saying I've been lying about my injury?' Johnson responded 'Yes'. Then he walked away."

Great Britain and Northern Ireland's team doctor Brian English confirmed Campbell had a slight tear in his hamstring but insisted he should be fit to run in the 4x100m relay on Saturday.

"We've been treating him fairly aggressively with physiotherapy and injection treatment," said English.

"It's a small tear but for a sprinter it's a fairly significant injury and we'll be assessing him on a daily basis.

"Throughout the rounds it has felt better each time and he's got to the point where he feels confident about doing the relay."

Campbell, 30, was eliminated from the 100m in the heats and crashed out of the 200m in the semis after coming through two rounds.

"I spoke to my girlfriend after the first round of the 200m in tears, and she told me to come home," he said.

"But I thought I'd try the second round, and I made it through to the semis.

"I had treatment for four hours just to get me on the track and it is only thanks to the medical team that I was out there."

I felt like I'd been taken advantage of, as a viewer and as a supporter of Darren
BBC pundit Michael Johnson
Johnson, who won five Olympic gold medals in a glittering career in athletics, pulled no punches in his assessment of Campbell's performance.

"I'm confused," the American, who won gold medals at 200m and 400m, told Olympic Grandstand.

"Darren said he'd pulled his hamstring, then said he's in the best shape of my life.

"Then when he was asked about the relay he said 'It doesn't feel too bad now' and then he said I'm hurt.

"Darren is upset that people are questioning what's going on with him.

"No-one's ever questioned that he's a great athlete - he's a championship performer but obviously he's not in shape right now.

"So why not just say that? Everyone will respect that.

"But when you pull a hamstring, you're out for six weeks - you can't run.

"After the second round, I felt bad for Darren coming off the track, wincing. But then he said 'I'm going to run the semi-final.'

"I felt like I'd been taken advantage of, as a viewer and as a supporter of Darren.

"That bothers me because I think he's better than that."

Campbell's team-mate Christian Malcolm also missed out on the 200m final after suffering the effects of a kidney problem, while Chris Lambert pulled out of his first-round 200m heat with injury.

And with the failure of Campbell, Jason Gardner and Mark Lewis-Francis to qualify for the 100m final, 2004 was the first Olympics without any British representation in the men's sprint finals since 1976.





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