Team GB 200m star Christian Malcolm on setbacks, successes and showing others the way.
I have two really proud moments. I was 19 at the Commonwealth Games in 1998 in Kuala Lumpur, my mum came out and I won a medal. I did a lap of honour and saw her in the stadium. Then there was my first Olympics in Sydney. I came fifth, just missing the medals, and it hit home that I was one of the best in the world.
Am I a veteran? I’m 31! I keep telling Steve Cram he needs to get off that tip; he always mentions it on TV. To be honest it’s a compliment too. I’ve been around so long, it shows I’ve got longevity. I still feel like a 19-year-old.
I’ve had a few hard times too. Before the age of 22 I had never been injured and I was second fastest in the world in 2001. I knew going to Athens in 2004, it was my time. Then at training camp I got ill with kidney failure and spent 10 days in hospital. I managed to run, but wasn’t in great shape, then I stepped down from the relay and the boys won a gold. I was happy for them but it was tough. Ever since then I’ve been injured every year.
When my funding got cut I had to decide whether to carry on. After the 2008 Olympics, I broke down again, had a poor year and was cut off. It was tough because the guys at the top know as long as I’m fit I’ll deliver, but then you need to be on funding to get rehab and treatment. At first I was bitter, but then I decided to prove a point.
It took me back to how it was when I started. Financially, it was really tough and I was job hunting all over the place. I was quite fortunate that I had resources and sponsors helping out. I came through that, won two medals last year and I’m back on funding now.
If I could change one thing in athletics I’d set something up to let athletes who lose their funding know the governing body hasn’t lost faith in them.
My mum was a big inspiration. It used to take us an hour to walk to our track in Newport to train. I hated that walk but she knew I enjoyed it once I was there. I will do that for my little girl if it’s what she wants to do. She can run, she’s got it, but it’s up to her. It’s not easy; there are sacrifices and you need discipline, but if she wants to do it, I’ll support her 100 per cent.
After athletics I want to set up an academy back home in Newport. There were so many talented guys in my area. I was part of a football team and everyone was signed to a Premier League or Championship club and not one made it. In Newport itself one of my mates was a Welsh champion boxer, there were a couple of champion squash players, one girl was a national level trampolinist, but none went on to make it. I think that’s to do with the culture and lack of belief in Newport. I want to set something up to show them they can fulfil their talent, even if it’s not in sport.Christian Malcolm is an ambassador for Links of London and one of the faces of their official jewellery collection for London 2012 - www.linksoflondon.com