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July 30, 2002
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English sprinter Darren Campbell began to cry when he lauded the bronze medal at this year’s Commonwealth Games, but his tears were not only for his 200 metre win – they were also of joy and relief. Just months ago the Olympic silver medallist was injured and out of form, and had lost his three-year-old son and girlfriend in a painful split. At the brink of despair, he even considered taking his own life.

“On Christmas Day I saw my son open his presents and then I had to walk away… I didn’t want to live, let alone run,” he says. “I’ve never been so low. I knew what feeling down was all about.”

Although he says he was “serious” about putting an end to it all, his suicidal thoughts were put to rest after an old friend from his home city of Manchester confided the extent of his own problems.

“He said to me, ‘Do you think you’re the only person who has thought about suicide?’,” Darren recalls. “And that put it all in perspective. Here I was with an Olympic silver medal, a beautiful son and girlfriend, a nice car and nice house. I had to take a step back and realise it’s all about getting the balance right.”

A reunion with girlfriend Claire followed, and just months later a healthy and fit Darren crossed the finishing line cheered on by his longtime love and little son, along with a crowd of nearly 40,000. And he’s not done yet. On Wednesday night he’ll be trying for the gold with England’s 100m relay team. “Now there is light at the end of my long dark road,” says Darren. “And I’m happy again.”

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Photo: ©
Darren can hardly contain his joy upon learning he has won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games. Newly fit and with his career back on track, the sportsman has come a long way in the last six months Photo: © PA
Photo: ©
The England sprinter was cheered on by his three-year-old son Aaryn and longtime love Claire, with whom he is now reunited after a difficult break-up last yearPhoto: © PA

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