Collins aims to shock again

AUBIERE, France, CMC – History-making sprinter Kim Collins, of St Kitts and Nevis, has stepped up his preparations for the 2008 Olympic season and his first major test will be this weekend’s World Indoor Championships in Spain.

Collins, 31, stunned the World Championship 100-metre field in 2003 to capture the gold medal and after moderate results in recent years, hopes to be the world’s best.

At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Collins became the first athlete from his tiny island to reach an Olympic final, placing seventh, and three years later he became the first athlete ever representing the Caribbean to become 100m World Champion.

Under the guidance of Jamaican coach Glen Mills, Collins says there has been no major change to his training but some adjustments have been made that should improve his performance.

“I train more, and I have added weight training for some time,” said Collins, who clocked a personal season’s best 6.56 seconds last week to win the 60m at the Gaz de France meeting.

‘I do some bench press, calf and hamstring work, hip raises but with light weights only, as plyometric exercises remain my main strength provider,” he said.

The mild-mannered sprint ace is hoping for a good result at the World Indoors in Valencia, starting today until Sunday, especially after his Gaz de France win.

His time was only 0.03 seconds off his all-time best 6.53 that landed him silver at the 2003 World Indoors Championships.

Collins won his first major title at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and also collected World Championship medals in Edmonton, Canada, 2001 (200-metre bronze) and Helsinki, Finland, 2005 (bronze in the 100 metres).

Collins is an irresistible throwback to a more innocent age of sprinting. He used to avoid weights because ‘it was too boring’ and if he wakes up feeling tired or simply lazy, he’ll skip training. Before he got really motivated, a little partying, with the odd drink and plenty of dancing, often seemed a much more sensible way of spending a day in St Kitts.

Drugs scandals are prevalent in athletics and he admits to still being haunted by the memory of his own scare with a failed drugs test.

Soon after winning gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, Collins was told that his sample contained traces of salbutamol. While it was quickly discovered that the banned substance came from a nasal spray which Collins had been using for years as prescribed medication against asthma, he “was totally shocked’.

He added: ‘My federation was supposed to send the paperwork declaring I was on this medication – so I thought something else had somehow got into my system. I did think it could be the end for me. Man, I tell you, I was crying like a little bitch.’ If he is crying this weekend, hopefully it will be with joy on the medals rostrum.