Grabarz not surprised by title

30 June 2012 / 08:14

Robbie Grabarz has insisted he is still not surprised by his remarkable transformation into an Olympic contender after kickstarting a superb night for Britain at the European Championships.

Forty eight hours after Mo Farah retained his 5,000 metres title in Helsinki's Olympic Stadium, Grabarz claimed the first major medal of his career with gold in the high jump. Rhys Williams also took gold in the 400m hurdles, while there were mixed emotions for Lynsey Sharp, who took silver in the 800m but agonisingly missed out on the qualifying time required for an Olympic place.

"I'm still not surprised, it's just another target to tick off the list," said Grabarz, who happily admitted last week that he "looks vacant" all the time because there is deliberately nothing going around in his head.

Grabarz and Lithuania's Raivydas Stanys both cleared 2.31m, but Grabarz took gold on countback by virtue of clearing both of his previous heights at the first attempt.

The 24-year-old from Cambridgeshire lost his National Lottery funding at the end of last year for not reaching performance targets, failing to make the World Championships in Daegu and finishing a lowly 23rd in qualifying at the European Indoors.

However, a few harsh words from coach Fuzz Ahmed and a look at his empty bank balance helped Grabarz refocus on athletics and he is ranked second in the world this year after a personal best of 2.36m in New York earlier this month - a height which won Olympic gold in Beijing.

he said: "It's a solid performance, the one I was aiming for. I told the press I was looking for the title and it's nice to back up your words when it comes to it. I wanted to put pressure on myself beforehand because it's only going to get worse heading into London. If I can apply some pressure to myself and almost make it harder work for me here, it's certainly going to help me in the Games."

In stark contrast, team-mate Samson Oni labelled his own performance "a disgrace" after three failures at 2.20m, his first height.