Commonwealth Games 2002
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Athletics Wednesday, 24 July, 2002, 13:35 GMT 14:35 UK
Campbell flies flag for England
English sprinter Darren Campbell and swimmer James Hickman
Darren Campbell with English swimmer James Hickman
Manchester-born sprinter Darren Campbell will be the flag bearer for Team England at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony on Thursday.

He will lead the squad out at the City of Manchester Stadium in front of the Queen.

Campbell said: "It's a great honour for me although I was going to miss the opening ceremony to stay concentrated on my training.

open quote
It's great for me to be involved so early
end quote
Darren Campbell

"But this is the kind of opportunity you can't turn down.

Swimmer James Hickman will take the Games oath on behalf of the England team.

Hickman is also from Manchester and won the Mancunian of the Year award in 1998 after taking gold in the the 200m butterfly at the Commonwealth Games.

Both sides of the city's footballing divide will be represented as Campbell is a United fan, while Hickman folows Manchester City.

Campbell hopes the Games will help him be remembered alongside coach Linford Christie as "a great athlete".

He is looking to take gold in the 200m final on Monday night, and as Olympic silver medallist in the event, he is one of the men to beat.

Fit now after 18 months dogged by injury, 28-year-old Campbell believes he can mature with age as Christie did.

He said: "I recently decided that I'd give myself the best chance possible out there and try to leave my mark on the sport.

"I'd like people to look back in 10 years time and say, 'That Darren Campbell was a great athlete'.

"I think a lot of the time in the past I was just happy-go-lucky.

"Now I can enjoy my sport and still achieve my goals and that's what I'm trying to do."

As a United fan, the Games may be the only time Campbell is welcome inside the stadium which will house derby rivals City from 2003.

And he joked: "I want to win there before they do and hopefully Man Utd can follow my lead in the future."

England sprinter Darren Campbell
"It's a great honour to carry the flag"
England swimmer James Hickman
on taking the oath for England
England 1500m runner Kelly Holmes
"The 800m and 1500m would be too much"

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