Usain Bolt can thank, in part, a Welsh sprinter for helping him become a global track icon.
Indeed, Newport’s Christian Malcolm ran against the greatest athlete the world has ever seen in the 2008 Olympic Games final where Bolt broke Michael Johnson’s 14-year-old 200 metres world record on his way to gold.
Now retired from competition, Malcolm is the current Great Britain athletics team relay and Paralympic coach and is passing on his vast experience to athletes of all sports who want to run faster through his Christian Malcolm Sports Academy Xtra Yard programme which begins a six-week run at Newport and Cwmbran Stadiums in Gwent from Monday November 13.
When Malcolm did the sprint double at the World Junior Championships in 1998, somebody was watching him who was later to become the man who guided Bolt to greatness.
And, said Malcolm, now 38, the link with Jamaican superstar bolt and countryman Asafa Powell, the 2016 Olympic Games gold medallist, came thanks to the work of the Welshman’s lifelong coach Jock Anderson.
Malcolm, who is also a board member of Sport Wales, revealed for the first time:
“Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell’s coach wanted to know how Jock got people to run so well.
“This was back at the World Juniors in 1998. They liked the technique and the way I ran. What they would do was they would play a video of me at the World Juniors to them.
“They also showed the start from the blocks of Kim Collins (St Kitts and Nevis) along with my technique and said that is how we want you to run. That all came from what Jock instilled into me.”
Malcolm came fifth in the 2008 Olympic Games 200 metres final in Beijing behind a Bolt who was at the height of his powers.
The Welsh athlete said:
“It is only when you are retired that you reflect on these things. It was a hard race because he was the greatest but to race against him, you can look back and think we had some great athletes at the time and I was up there and I was respected by them.”
With distance athletic enjoying a new growth period through city centre marathons and half marathons in Cardiff, Newport and Swansea plus weekly 5K parkrun sessions across Wales every Saturday, Malcolm has been asked by numerous parents and athletes if he would help them with developing their speed.
Hence, he is passion on the lessons learnt in elite international track athletics to all sportsmen and women through his Xtra Yard programmes.
“What we should be doing is taking advantage of what is happening in road running athletics at the moment and taking people back onto the track,” said Malcolm, whose Xtra Yard programmes start at Newport and Cwmbran Stadiums from Monday November 13.
“It is said there is no substitute for pace in sport and it would be a shame not to give back my experience to be able to help people in netball, cricket, rugby, hockey and football.”
Christian Malcolm’s Sports Academy runs the Xtra Yard programme which is a six-week course at Cwmbran and Newport Stadiums helping men and women across all sports to develop speed. The winter programmes begin from Monday November 13 and can be booked by ringing 07786 060844. More information is at christianmalcolm.co.uk