DEAN Macey has leapt to the defence of the Commonwealth Games.
After the success of the 2012 Olympics in London, critics have been quick to question the quality of the competition coming to Glasgow.
But the Canvey Islander, who won gold in the decathlon at the 2006 Commonwealths insists the Games still matter.
And he is saddened by those suggesting otherwise.
“After the Olympics there seems to be this attitude the World Championships, the Europeans and Commonwealth Games don’t really matter and I don’t like that at all,” said Macey.
“It’s elitism at its very worst because all of those events are still hugely important.
“OK they’re not going to be as special as the Olympics, but the Commonwealth Games is still the second biggest multi sport event in the world so of course it should be taken seriously.
“Nine times out of 10 Olympic champions first come through and get noticed at the Commonwealth Games so I think they’re excellent. And I’m sure the Games in Glasgow will be a huge success.”
Macey first came to prominence by winning a silver medal at the 1999 World Championships in Seville.
Two years later, he claimed bronze at the same event in Canada but his only senior gold came at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
And that triumph remains a special memory for Macey.
“It wasn’t my best performance but if I had ended my career without a senior title then it would’ve been a huge disappointment for me,” said the 36-year-old.
“Four years earlier I had missed the Commonwealths in Manchester because I was injured and I had to get rid of those demons in the head.
“I wanted a gold medal and because I got one I can look back at my career now and think I was OK and actually did all right.”
Macey was forced to dig deep to win his gold in Melbourne after again being struck by injury.
And it, therefore, still makes him angry when people suggest Commonwealth medals are easy to win.
“You still get people saying Commonwealths medals are soft but they are only as soft as the people actually winning them,” stressed Macey.
“When Asafa Powell won the 100m final was that a soft medal to win? I don’t think so.
“When I won the decathlon it wasn’t either and I can tell you that if I had been in Delhi four years later then I would’ve been one hard man to beat.
“There were 80,000 fans there when I won it as well and the atmosphere was amazing.
“I was up against Jason Dudley in his home-town so I was the rotten egg when we first got under way.
“But when they saw me dragging myself over bars and trying to throw various things while injured they got behind me as well.
“The noise was up there with the best I’ve ever heard and the Commonwealth Games clearly mattered to everyone there.”
Macey will not be heading out to Glasgow this year due to his coaching commitments. But he will be tracking the action on television and is certain the home nations will win a whole host of medals.
“I think it’s going to be very successful for England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland,” said Macey. “I will be watching as much as I can and I’m particularly keen to watch Jessica Judd and the decathlon of course.”