Aikines-Aryeetey savours Olympic Stadium

05 May 2012 / 12:34

Spectators were wearing hats, gloves and scarves in an attempt to keep warm, but sprinter Harry Aikines-Aryeetey insisted he would not be anywhere else in the world than a cold Olympic Stadium.

While Usain Bolt was preparing to open his season in the considerably warmer climes of Jamaica on Saturday, Aikines-Aryeetey was up at 6:30am in east London and on the start line three and a half hours later for the semi-final of the 100 metres in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) championships.

"It might be cold but I wouldn't rather be anywhere else right now," the 23-year-old said. "Rain or shine I want to get in the stadium and see how it feels."

Competing for his university Loughborough, Aikines-Aryeetey won his semi-final in 10.51 seconds to reach the final, and despite the cold and early start, he was delighted to be competing on the track where he aims to be come the Games in August.

"It's kind of breathtaking a little bit because when you're inside it, it still has an atmosphere and there's no-one in it. So you can imagine when it's packed full of Brits shouting 'Come on Harry' it's going to be immense," he said.

This weekend's championship is also doubling as the Olympic test event, with a crowd of 40,000 expected this evening to enjoy '2012 Hours to Go: An Evening of Athletics and Entertainment'.

And south Londoner Aikines-Aryeetey admits it finally feels as if the Olympics is just around the corner.

"Because I'm in Loughborough and I've been in Portugal you keep your head away from it all," he added. "You kind of chill out a little bit. I'm preparing for it, but you don't want to catch Olympic fever in the wrong way.

"Olympic fever can help boost your training. It can make you train harder. It can also make you over-train and you can get distracted by a lot of people. You want to stay clear of mind but at the same time you want it to boost you. There's a fine line.

"So when I walked through Westfields I was like 'Wow, this is amazing'. You've got to kind of step away because you're not here to enjoy the Olympics. You're here to perform at the Olympics and enjoy the rewards."