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Lewis-Francis pleased with upturn

30 May 2007

Mark Lewis-Francis gave a hint of a return to form as he finished third behind world record holder Asafa Powell in a 100m race in Belgrade on Tuesday.

Lewis-Francis, seen as one of the great underachievers of British athletics, ran 10.19secs, his third quickest time since 2004, as he tied for third place.

"I'm glad I got a good result against a very strong field but it's early days and I have to keep producing," he said.

Lewis-Francis tied with 2005 world silver medallist Michael Frater.

Powell won in 9.97secs from Churandy Martina of the Netherlands Antilles.

Lewis-Francis, who beat British team-mate Jason Gardener into fifth place, added: "The World Championships [in Tokyo in September] are my priority and now I have to show the consistency that will get me selected for them."

As a senior, the 24-year-old has not lived to the potential he showed as a world junior champion.

And he has been disappointing since switching coaches two years ago in an attempt to get his career on track.

But his performance in Belgrade moved him to to the top of the British rankings, and suggested he may be finding some improved form.

The British selectors have said they will stiffen their selection policy, with a first or second place in the national trials no longer sufficient to guarantee a place in the national team.

They are to base their judgement on what an athlete might achieve in the world championships - and in recent years Lewis-Francis has largely failed in individual events on the international stage.

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