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Cardiff Character: Christian Malcom

19th Commonwealth Games - Day 8: AthleticsAll good things come to an end if you want to take a pessimistic view on life. The cold side of the pillow; football matches; Brookside. But when it happens we sort of just forget about it. What’s next when it’s all over? Last summer, after an intense battle with injury and losing funding, local sprinter Christian Malcom decided to call it a day after 20 years of being at the front of British and Welsh athletics.

You’d think retirement meant gardening and daytime TV – not for Christian.

“I’ve got to pick the kids up then I’ve got a charity football match, I’ll ring you around nine?” he says. 

Is he busier now than he was when was a full-time athlete? “I guess I am you know, I’m trying to get the best out of myself. When I was training I didn’t have the opportunities like I do now.”

So how has it been for him since he gave it all up? ”I wouldn’t say I wanted to retire but I was getting too many injuries, I just couldn’t run”, he admitted. I’ve heard from many athletes there’s no substitute for running but never really understood the concept. 

It’s hard to understand what retirement is like for those who have dedicated their career to entertaining others; I mean…every decision they make has been a direct contribution to their field. “I miss the sport, I always will and there are a lot of sportsmen and women who suffer from depression,” he shrugs. 

How do you just stop? “That’s a great question, It’s hard… It’s very difficult to just stop. I’m still training.” What about the time aspect, what are you filling your time with? “There’s always things you know, I’ve been pushing myself into the business sector media here and there. But there’s nothing I think yeah I want to do that.”

Depending on your point of view, 35-year-old Christian Malcolm, born and raised in Newport was the only good thing to come out of Wales, (in sporting sense) for a period of time. Welsh football was heading in a downward spiral, the rugby team was the worst it had been. Yet out of all this Newport…(you know that place the group GLC came from. No? Jose Darby? Just Google the transporter bridge) a young Christian was being moulded into one of the best sprinters Britain has ever seen. Epitome of pressure right? “I never felt pressure from the public, it was always from myself I have high standards and you need to be like that.”

What about the people you met in athletics, do you think they’ll be about for life? “Yeah, of course, but I had a close circle. Dwain was probably my best friend.”

How did he cope with your decision to retire? “He didn’t, he still tells me to come back!”

So what’s next for you? “There’s nothing worse than seeing a youngster waste their talent, I want to help. Whatever I do I want to be great at it.”

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