Gemili savours prospect of clash with Caribbean giants
4 Jul 2012
Adam Gemili reacts after realising he has qualified to represent Britain at this summer's Olympic Games following the men's 100 metres final at the British Olympic athletics trials at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, central England, June 23, 2012. REUTERS/Phil Noble
LONDON (Reuters) - Adam Gemili, the youngest member of the British athletics team, is savouring the prospect of a clash with the cream of the Caribbean sprinters at the London Olympics opening this month.
After a meteoric rise, the 18-year-old is currently the second fastest 100 metres man in Europe this year behind France's European champion Christophe Lemaitre with a time of 10.08 seconds.
On Tuesday after he was named in the British track and field team, Gemili said he felt privileged to be part of a field which will include Jamaica's defending champion Usain Bolt, world gold medallist Yohan Blake and former world record holder Asafa Powell.
"I feel privileged that I've earned a place and will be able to line up against them and be racing them," Gemili told reporters at the Team GB headquarters in Stratford, a javelin throw away from the Olympic park.
"They are the best at what they do and hopefully I'll aspire to run the times they run."
The London-born sprinter won praise from UK Athletics head coach Charles Van Commenee, who said he had no concern the Olympic Games would be too big an occasion.
"Adam is bright and level-headed and he can look after himself. He has a good coach and a stable family so I have no concerns," Van Commenee said.
Gemili, who will compete in the world junior championship in Barcelona this month, was a promising soccer player who spent time at Chelsea's academy as a defender.
He did not realise his full potential until he began competing for his local club Blackheath and Bromley Harriers and became one of the fastest young athletes in Britain.
"I didn't realise how fast I was or how fast I could be. I knew I had pace playing football," he said.
"I competed for my school and used to win local competitions and be the best in the area, but I never expected it to be on this scale that I'd run.
"I'm improving a lot and that 10.08 seconds race was quite scrappy. I've made a lot of changes and improvements and if I keep improving then hopefully we could see some quicker times."