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Commonwealth Games 2002
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Athletics Monday, 29 July, 2002, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
Rawlinson desperate for gold
Tom Fordyve

Chris Rawlinson, the man who always promises so much but fails to deliver in the big championships, has vowed to win the medal his talent deserves at the Commonwealth Games.

The 400 metre hurdler went to the Sydney Olympics as a medal contender but failed to perform anywhere near his best, going out in the semis.

Then, at the World Championships in Edmonton last summer, he cruised into the final only to clatter the first hurdle and trail home fifth.

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I've been to so many championships now and I haven't picked up a medal
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Chris Rawlinson
Now he is determined to get it right when it matters rather than in Grand Prix meets early in the season.

"I don't want any more of the blank medals you get as a memorabilia artefact," Rawlinson told BBC Sport Online.

"I want to go home with one that's been hung round my neck as I stand on top of the podium.

"I don't need anyone to tell me that I've underachieved. If I run badly, I give myself a bad enough arse-whipping without anyone else doing it for me."

Rawlinson has enjoyed excellent starts to the last three years, only to peak too soon and find nothing left in the tank when titles are up for grabs.

All appeared to be going smoothly this season. He changed his training programme last winter, sacrificing muscle bulk for speed, and was reaping the benefits.

Then disaster struck at the AAAs 15 days ago.

"I got back to my car on the Saturday absolutely starving and ate a chicken sandwich I'd left in the car overnight," he says.

"I ran the final the next day with a dodgy stomach and got worse.

"In the end I was diagnosed with food poisoning and didn't eat for 36 hours at one point. I was on antibiotic pills for two weeks.

"I was really questioning if I was going to make the Games. You go to every championships and people fall by the wayside, and I was just hoping it wasn't going to be me.

"But they say bad luck comes in threes. One of the pipes burst in my living room last week, then I got the food poisoning, and then in the shower this week one of the taps fell off in the bath. So I'm hoping that's done it."

Rawlinson's first experience of the City of Manchester Stadium was not a good one either.

At the Commonwealth Trials in June he was disqualified in his heat for taking his trailing leg round a hurdle rather than over it.

"It's true I don't have the happiest memories of the stadium, but I still believe after watching the footage that I didn't infringe the rule," he says.

"But that's in the past. I'm ready to race.

"I came to the sport older than most, and it's taken time for me to learn how to peak at the right time. But I think I've nailed that now.

"I've been touted as being number one, but I don't feel any pressure. I've been to so many championships now and I haven't picked up a medal.

"I ran 48.26secs in Paris, and I was shattered before the race. Someone could have knocked me down with a feather. I was tired and I still managed to perform.

"I just want to do it here in Manchester. It's not just the home thing - I want that gold medal."

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Chris Rawlinson
"I need to get a medal"
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