Commonwealth Games 2002
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Athletics Friday, 26 July, 2002, 19:19 GMT 20:19 UK
McFarlane warns of demise
Dwain Chambers cruises to victory during the 100m heats
McFarlane coaches England's Dwain Chambers
Mick McFarlane coaches English medal hope Dwain Chambers

Britain's sprinting future is under serious threat, according to the man behind Commonwealth 100m favourite Dwain Chambers.

Mike McFarlane, who coaches the English and European number one, is concerned that the hype surrounding the sprints in Manchester has obscured deep-seated problems in British athletics.

The clash between Chambers and Mark Lewis-Francis over 100m on Saturday night is expected to be one of the highlights of the Games.

But McFarlane, who took Commonwealth 200m gold in Brisbane in 1982, says that there is a crisis looming in British sprinting.

"It's great that we have Dwain at 24 years old, Mark at 19 and Jason Gardener at 26, but you always have to have people coming through," McFarlane told BBC Sport Online.

open quote
we have no-one to follow the current crop
end quote
Mike McFarlane
"But we don't want to get carried away about British sprinters being great because you always have to look at who's coming up through the ranks.

"At the World Juniors in Jamaica this month, there wasn't a single male British sprinter involved - and that's the first time in over 20 years that has been the case.

"I remember going to the European Juniors way back in 1979, and you're always looking for someone to come through.

"But we have no-one to follow the current crop through, and we need to be looking at that process if we want our success to last."

McFarlane revealed that Chambers is in confident mood as he hunts his first major international title.

Both Chambers and Lewis-Francis made it safely through Friday's heats, boosted by the news that medal rival Frankie Fredericks has pulled out of the shorter sprint to concentrate on the 200m.

"Dwain's fine," said McFarlane. "He knows what he's doing.

"But they will all be at their best - it's not just about Dwain and Mark. Kim Collins is there, Jason is there.

"It's time to get down to business. Out on the streets in Manchester it's buzzing, but on the track it's serious."

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26 Jul 02 | Athletics
26 Jul 02 | Athletics
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