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Campbell predicts more success for GB men's relay team

Campbell predicts more success for GB men's relay team
By Sportsbeat

24/09/2017 at 12:33Updated 24/09/2017 at 12:50

Most athletes can recall a turning point in their careers, and Olympic champion Darren Campbell is no different.

For Campbell and his relay teammates - Jason Gardener, Marlon Devonish and Mark Lewis-Francis - that came in 1999 when they broke the then European record in Seville, five years before their Olympic triumph in Athens.

So when the former sprinter watched on as Danny Talbot, Adam Gemili, CJ Ujah and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake stormed to World Championship gold at the London Stadium last month, he knew there and then he'd just witnessed the catalyst for the rest of their careers.

But for Campbell, it had been a long time coming - the quartet's potential apparent in the lead up to the championships with the 43-year-old predicting they would break their long-standing European record.

Yet there's plenty more to come for Britain's gold medal winners, both in the relay and the individual races, and Campbell is confident their success will continue for years to come.

"I had a conversation with Danny Talbot and there's a good maturity level with this next generation where they understand what's needed," Campbell said.

"I often talk about being at the top table. They are now sat at the head of the top table so it's important that they use what they learned to get there in the relay and transport that into their individual races.

"They've shown they are capable of it and they realise the difference between believing and truly believing – it's a totally different thing.

"In Athens the four of us truly believed we'd win and we did. They truly believed too and I knew that when I went and interviewed them at their relay camp in Portugal. I could see it and that's when I said to them 'you'll break the European record'.

"They still had to run, though, and they took it to a different level. I thought they could get silver – they won gold."

Britain's gold medal winning relay team, Britain's Chijindu Ujah (R), Britain's Adam Gemili (2L), Britain's Daniel Talbot (L) and Britain's Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (2R) pose as they celebrate winning the final of the men's 4x100m relay athletics event at

Britain's gold medal winning relay team, Britain's Chijindu Ujah (R), Britain's Adam Gemili (2L), Britain's Daniel Talbot (L) and Britain's Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (2R) pose as they celebrate winning the final of the men's 4x100m relay athletics event atGetty Images

But Britain's sprinting power doesn't end with Ujah, Gemili, Talbot and Mitchell-Blake - behind them is a whole pool of talent waiting for their own career-defining moment.

And once that happens, Campbell - who won 200m silver at the Sydney Olympic Games before winning 100m bronze at the 203 World Championships - insists the change in mentality will be palpable.

"We've had talent for a long time, it's just transitioning it. With the talent we've got, I should not be the last sprinter to win an individual global medal," he said.

"It's not that they have issues with the mental side of things it's just that the mindset has to go to another level.

"Sometimes something needs to happen in your career to give you that extra belief so I'm hoping it's world championship gold and the European record.

"We set that record in 1999 so if you look at what was achieved throughout the rest of our careers, that was the catalyst.

"I'm hoping this will be a catalyst for them, too. Some of these guys have got 10 years, so the future is bright and there are enough of them fighting!"

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