British sprint champion Marlon Devonish has backed Mark Lewis-Francis, one of the men he beat in last weekend's Norwich Union AAA, to bounce back from recent disappointments and establish himself as one of the top 100 metres runners in the world.
Even though he was beaten into third place in Manchester - Devonish roared home and went on to claim a rare 100m and 200m double - afterwards Lewis-Francis claimed he was feeling more like his old self after recovering from injury and that his switch of coaches had been a success.
Troubled by a poor 2005 campaign the Darlaston-born athlete - who burst into the limelight when he won two golds at the 2000 World Junior Championships, left mentor Steve Platt at the end of last season and joined Tony Lester's group based in Windsor.
And although he has struggled for form and fitness again in 2006 Devonish believes his training partner is finally in the right hands and will one-day fulfil his potential.
"Mark is a phenomenal athlete and he could still be a world star, he has got the talent,".
Devonish said. "He looks like he is coming back, he showed a glimmer of that in the semi finals in Manchester when he ran very, very well."
The Coventry Godiva runner is quick to defend Lewis-Francis from the censure that inevitably comes his way and refutes the suggestion that the gifted youngster has failed to make the necessary sacrifices to succeed.
"He gets more criticism than most of us and it's not fair," Devonish said. "He moved his young family from Birmingham to Windsor - leaving his friends and relatives and that's not easy, it's a big upheaval.
"He's in a transitional period now. He's doing a lot of good work in training but it'll take some time for that to transfer to the track but it will pay dividends.
"He's in the right environment now and if he wants it to happen then it will happen."