06 June 2014
Four-time outdoor and five-time indoor British 100m Champion Jason Gardener believes that the Sainsbury’s British Championships held at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium on 27-29 June could see three athletes go sub-10 seconds in the men’s 100m.
Gardener, who won the outdoor title in 1997, 1999, 2004 and 2005, admits that the Sainsbury’s British Championships could be the biggest in history. After James Dasaolu (coach: Steve Fudge) clocked 9.91 in last year’s semi-final the 2004 Olympic 4x100 gold medallist has no doubt that the magic 10 second barrier could be broken again by more than one athlete.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if conditions are right, I could see three Brits going under 10 seconds. Birmingham has a fast track and if we saw a nice tailwind like last year with James Dasaolu not only breaking the 10 second barrier, but smashing it, I think it has the billing to thrill, excite and send messages throughout the world that the Brits are back.”
Dwain Chambers (Rana Reider) has claimed the British crown for four consecutive years and will look to equal Linford Christie's eight 100m titles. However, with the likes of Dasaolu, World Indoor 60m champion Richard Kilty (Reider) and Adam Gemili (Fudge), who clocked a season’s best of 10.07 at the Rome Diamond League last night, Gardener believes the event this season is too close to call.
“In this current crop of sprinters, we have so many exciting athletes and it’s really difficult to call one out. The reason is because circumstances change and the indoors showed that. James Dasaolu looked like he’d be the one that would be crowned World Indoor Champion and run close to the world record, but one small injury opened the door for the unknown quantity of Richard Kilty coming through. I think this reason makes the Sainsbury’s British Championships a really mouth-watering event.
“I think Richard is showing his potential – he’s hungry and wants to prove he’s not just a flash in the pan. He trains with other top quality athletes, so he knows where he is against some of the other top athlete, which he will use to his advantage. Adam (Gemili) is exciting and in good shape and it’s all looking promising for him.”
Despite being the veteran of the British sprinting scene, Gardener still believes that Chambers has all the attributes to add to the five titles he’s claimed in the last six years.
“I think you’d be a fool to rule Dwain out because while he doesn’t have youth on his side, he has wisdom and the ability. He’ll know exactly what he needs to do to get through the qualification rounds. He’s been there and handled the pressure on many occasions, but I think he’s got a different pressure on his shoulders now because some of the other athletes have had a taste of competing successfully on the world-class scene.”
Gardener knows what is means to be British Champion from a personal perspective, and believes that the title and the bragging rights that go with it will motivate the contenders at the end of this month at the Sainsbury’s British Championships.
“It means a lot to be crowned British Champion and be the best in Britain. Back in my era, which is not too dissimilar to the one we’re going through now, to be the best in Britain, means you’re one of the best in the world.
“It was a big objective of mine to achieve, especially if you were going in there as the favourite. In the sprinting world, there are very fine margins between success and failure, so you can’t go there and be off form, because you risk losing out on a place to be selected for the major championships.”
Watch Britain’s best athletes go head-to-head at the Sainsbury’s British Championships at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium on 27-29 June as they bid to become British Champion #BecauseItMatters. You can purchase tickets here