Adam Gemili is the hottest prospect on the track as of late, running 10.08 last weekend in Regensburg, Germany to top the UK 100m rankings. This time not only places him top of the UK for 2012 but inside the top 10 fastest sprinters this country has ever produced, all at 18 years of age.
Still being U20, many speculate that it won’t be long before the London born sprinter breaks the 10 second barrier. This is hard to deny due to his developing age, let alone the fact that he has only just started specialising in sprinting after a background in football. The Blackheath and Bromley athlete has previously been in the Chelsea academy before more recently playing in the Dagenham and Redbridge academy. Last year Adam was trying to juggle not just football and sprint training, but also his studies too. Despite this, he still managed to pick up a silver medal in the 100m at the European Junior Championships. However, it was only at the beginning of the year when Gemili pledged his future (at least for now) in sprinting: ‘I decided that I need to at least give athletics a go before making my final decision on either football or athletics’ and cites the support received from family and friends in the decision to focus on being as fast as he can.
After focusing fully on athletics from January this year, it may have come as a surprise to be running well inside the Olympic ‘A’ standard for the 100m this early in his athletics career. Times however, Gemili says, are not the focus, ‘my aim is always to be able to walk away winning’, which is something Gemili is making a habit of. When asked about his reaction to the 10.08 on the weekend, Gemili maturely replied that he wants to continue to improve as he has been doing, and running races he is happy with before thinking about what the clock has stopped at.
Adam takes things race by race, and after hoping for a better start and conditions to race in, along with a quality field that he faced in Germany, is hoping to push on from his already blistering marker. However, having one ‘A’ standard already and having run 20.70 whilst warm weather training in America over Easter, the prospect of competing in front of a home crowd at the Olympics isn’t getting Adam carried away. ‘I was really only considering and training towards the World Juniors and our training schedule still hasn’t changed’ the Michael Afilaka athlete informed me. Any changes that Afilaka and Gemili decide to make are done so under the stance that they are ‘positive’ to his development, while pulling on a GB vest in front of a packed home crowd would be a ‘great honour’ and something that all athletes would love to have the chance to do.
Gemili is in a good place, with sprinters like Luke Fagen, Ashley Nelson and Jeanette Kwakye to only name a few as training partners. Along with this, fellow U20 David Bolarinwa is keeping with Adam’s step, running 20.69 over 200m at the same competition as Adam’s 10.08.
When asked on the recent discussion within the world of track and field, whether athletics is a dying sport or not, Gemili disagrees and gives reference to the recent turn out at the Rome Diamond League to argue against this view. He mentions many athletes such as Bolarinwa, who, like himself, are the latest talents and futures of British track and field. If anything, Britain will be ‘spoilt for choice’ at the next Olympics, with already world class athletes like Lawrence Okoye beginning to enter their primes. Hopefully this development is continued, and Gemili thinks it will be exciting to see everyone doing well.
When asked if he could choose another event to be successful in, Adam picked the Pole Vault because of the entertainment of the event along with the technical aspect required to do well. ‘It seems fun throwing yourself high in the air and I would love to experience doing something like that.’ Although hopefully we see Gemili setting a few more bench marks before making the event switch to PV!
You can watch Adam’s 10.08 and 10.11 runs here alongside some of the other track events from the meeting. Embedded below is his 10.08 performance.