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Lewis-Francis hits back at Regis

3 August 2006

Mark Lewis-Francis has responded angrily to former athlete John Regis' fierce criticism of the current crop of young British sprinters.

Regis, who has 16 major championship medals, told BBC Sport that a lack of professionalism had made Britain "a third-world country" in athletics.

But Lewis-Francis told Five Live Sport: "He's not around me day-to-day so he doesn't have a clue what I'm doing."

"I'm training my hardest and committing my whole life to athletics."

Lewis-Francis has come in for criticism in recent years for failing to live up to his early promise, while British sprinters in general have been accused of persistent underachievement.

The 23-year-old announced himself as a major talent by winning the 100m and 200m at the world juniors in 2000.

But he tested positive for cannabis last year and was disqualified from the Commonwealth Games 100m at the semi-final stage for a false start, although he did anchor Great Britain to gold at the 2004 Olympic Games.

Lewis-Francis added: "(For John Regis) to come out with stuff like that is just stereotyping everybody."

"It's the first time I've trained so hard in my whole life so obviously (his comments) are not making British sprinters look good at all."

Lewis-Francis is in Great Britain's squad for this month's European Championships, with UK Athletics performance director Dave Collins having warned some athletes are enjoying their "final opportunity to prove they are capable of performing".

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