Baptiste sells car for sake of Games

Leon Baptiste is adamant his need for speed is confined solely to the running track after a lust for fast cars forced him to curtail his early season plans.

Eurosport

After storming to 200m gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Baptiste was brought down to earth last season as he failed to qualify for the World Championships.

But, as the 26-year-old set about putting that disappointment behind him early this year, he had to halt his indoor season after just two races, a new car giving him a back problem.

However, with the car now replaced with something built for comfort rather than speed, Baptiste is adamant his ill-advised choice will be a blessing in disguise come the summer.

"Unfortunately I hurt my back quite badly in the indoor season and I was on my back for three or four solid weeks unable to move at all," said Baptiste - speaking at the Balfour Beatty London Youth Games schools finals.

"It was my own fault really. I bought myself a cheap sports car and it was very low to the ground so my back was constantly in flexion, compressing everything.

"I was very lucky because it could have been more serious. Needless to say I have got rid of that car now and it's not about buying flash cars, it is all about comfort.

"It did show me that you really have to pay attention to the little things, all the little details, as they do make a big difference.

"But for the last month and a half I have been able to train again and I am back to full fitness and feeling really healthy.

"I feel in the best shape that I have done for a long time and in 2012, an Olympic year, there is no better time to do that and I am confident heading into the outdoor season now."

Since returning from injury, Baptiste has run just once, recording 6.90 seconds in February, his slowest indoor 60m time since 2006.

But, despite his early-season setbacks, Baptiste insists his focus has never switched to anything but qualifying for this summer's Olympics.

"I hope all that has happened has been a blessing in disguise," he added. "I came back to do one competition after my injury but I didn't compete that well and that has put even more fire in my belly.

"It has helped in a way because I think it is going to inspire me even more to go on and do good things this season.

"The plan is to run in early May and then I will take it from there. Hopefully my plan is to run three or four competitions ahead of the trials and then make it to the Olympic Games."

Balfour Beatty have agreed to support the London Youth Games through to at least 2015, meaning £1.1m worth of funding post-2012 and a total contribution of £2.5m since 2007.

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