Gemili happy to be under Games spotlight

04 July 2012 / 14:24

Four years ago Adam Gemili was paying just a passing interest in the Beijing Olympics, much preferring football to athletics at the time, and just a month ago the London Games still barely featured on his radar.

Now the 18-year-old is Britain's top ranked sprinter in 2012 and the only man - or boy - to qualify automatically for the team in the 100 metres, with world record holder and triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt suddenly in his sights.

"My first Olympic memory was Beijing if I'm honest," Gemili said following Tuesday's official team announcement. "I remember the 100m but I wasn't too much into athletics. I've seen it since on Youtube and I've been doing my research."

He added: "I feel privileged that I've earned a place and I will be lining up against the likes of Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell, potentially anything can happen in that race and it feels really good.

"I will be running against the best guys in the world and hopefully I'll run the times they run and maybe even better it. Just to be there on the day will be amazing.

"I'm improving a lot and that 10.08 was quite scrappy, it wasn't my best race. I've made a lot of improvements and changes and if I keep improving then we can hopefully see some quicker times."

That 10.08 refers to Gemili's breakthrough performance in Regensburg, Germany on June 2, when he suddenly shot to the top of the national rankings with an Olympic 'A' standard qualifying time.

Finishing first or second in the Olympic trials would therefore secure his place in London, something the former footballer duly achieved when chasing home Dwain Chambers in Birmingham.

His coach Michael Afilaka insisted running in London was still not guaranteed however, admitting he was concerned Gemili might get burnt out in the "cauldron" of a home Olympics, but Gemili added: "I think it got misconstrued.

"I was physically exhausted but I was happy, I was over the moon. That night I didn't get to bed until about 4am because I was so happy. I was emotional because I couldn't believe I had finished in the top two and had got automatic selection."