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Dan banks on passing double test By BRIAN.

DANIEL Caines, the 400 metres speed merchant, has been showing everyone a clean pair of heels this summer and now he has set his sights on completing a memorable Commonwealth Games and European double this summer.

The highly-rated 23-year-old Solihull star is one of the hottest runners in the world and prepares for his gold medal haul in the Norwich Union and AAA championships at Birmingham's Alexander Stadium next weekend.

Confidence

A modest Caines, who took the athletics world by storm with his explosive running in the Sydney Olympics two years ago, said: 'So far it has been a very good season.

'I have shown some winning form and this builds my confidence for the big events coming up in the very near future.'

Caines, who won the world indoors 400m in Lisbon 15 months ago, recently triumphed at the Europe Cup in France.

He added: 'While I have been pleased with my form, I have picked up a little calf strain.

'This forced me to return early from training in Portugal for some treatment but it did not prevent me from winning last weekend.'

His latest success was yet another indication of his potential and fully justifies his decision to concentrate full-time on his athletics career for the next few years.

Caines makes no secret of his athletic ambitions that have, for the time being, sidelined his university law studies.

'This is a one-off period in my life,' said Caines, who has won a great deal of praise for his powerful running over the last two years.

'I could have continued at university but then I would have forever wondered what I could have achieved as an athlete,' said Caines.

'This is why I have plumped for athletics at the present time. The law degree has a seven-year window and hopefully in the future I can go back to these studies if I am that way inclined.

'I am perfectly happy with my decision to concentrate upon my athletics career. I am already stronger and faster than I was two years ago.

'I have also lowered my times and I've already won several important races.'

He is a firm favourite to win in the Commonwealth Games on the new fast track in Manchester to set him up for his tilt at the European title.
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Title Annotation:Athletics
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jul 7, 2002
Words:385
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