The two-time Olympian tells Euan Crumley why a text message rekindled his running fire and provided him with a marathon swansong
Goldie Sayers to captain GB team at European ChampionshipsAugust 6, 2014
British javelin record-holder “thrilled” to have been awarded role after injury struggles, while Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Phillips Idowu are among team withdrawals
Goldie Sayers says it is an “honour” to have been named captain of the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team for the European Championships in Zurich from August 12-17.
The British javelin record-holder returned this summer from a career-threatening elbow injury to post a series of 60 metre-plus throws and finish seventh with 57.68m at the Commonwealth Games.
Her UK record of 66.17m in 2012 had been followed by a series of injury nightmares which caused Sayers to doubt whether she might ever pick up a javelin again.
“Having had a fairly nightmarish past 18 months and not knowing whether I’d ever throw or compete again, getting back into the GB vest alone has been incredible,” said Sayers. “To say captaincy is an added bonus is a massive understatement.
UK Athletics performance director Neil Black commented: “I was delighted to offer Goldie this captaincy. She has a career that has spanned both junior and senior ranks that sets a real example to the youngsters making that transition.
“If anyone can offer words of advice and inspiration to our team, I know that she can, and I look forward to seeing her back in the GB & NI vest.”
Sayers added: “Obviously I was thrilled when Neil asked me.
“My initial instinct was to make my captain’s speech the best ever, but to be honest, I just hope I can say something suitably inspiring and be there to offer any advice. I like to think I’ve picked up quite a bit of experience over the years!
“I’ve been told I am a role model because of my career longevity, but looking around me, at this incredibly young team, I am in awe of how professional and motivated everyone is. There is so much hunger and so many of the younger guys are already making the huge transition to world class. It’s an honour to be captain to this new crop.”
Although Sayers has overcome injury to make it to Zurich, a number of the GB team athletes have been forced to withdraw through problems of their own.
Heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson had been due to contest the long jump at the European Championships but will no longer travel to Zurich having not recovered enough from the foot injury that caused her to miss competing in the multi-event at the Commonwealth Games.
European junior 1500m champion Jake Wightman has ended his season following hamstring problems at the Glasgow Games, while hurdler Meghan Beesley will also not compete in Zurich through injury. Shara Proctor pulled out of the Glasgow long jump competition after suffering a thigh injury during her first run up and will also not compete at the European Championships.
Phillips Idowu, who finished fifth in the Glasgow triple jump competition, has also withdrawn from Zurich, with UKA confirming it is “with a view to getting back into training and rediscovering his best form”.
Seb Roger replaces Dai Greene in the men’s 400m hurdles with Greene not having met the qualifying standard in the required timeframe which was a condition of his initial selection. Greene’s fellow Welshman Rhys Williams had originally been the reserve for this event but he remains provisionally suspended following an anti-doping rule violation.
GB & NI team for the European Championships
100m: Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, Dwain Chambers, James Dasaolu
200m: James Ellington, Adam Gemili, Daniel Talbot
400m: Matthew Hudson-Smith, Martyn Rooney, Conrad Williams
800m: Andrew Osagie, Michael Rimmer
1500m: Charlie Grice,Chris O’Hare
5000m: Mo Farah, Tom Farrell, Andy Vernon
10,000m: Mo Farah, Chris Thompson, Andy Vernon
3000m SC: James Wilkinson
110mH: William Sharman, Lawrence Clarke, Andy Turner
400mH: Niall Flannery, Tom Burton, Seb Roger
High jump: Chris Baker
Long jump: JJ Jegede, Greg Rutherford, Chris Tomlinson
Triple jump: Julian Reid
Pole vault: Steve Lewis, Luke Cutts, Jax Thoirs
Decathlon: Ashley Bryant
20k walk: Tom Bosworth
4x100m: Aikines-Aryeetey, Chambers, Dasaolu, Ellington, Talbot, Gemili, Richard Kilty, Chinjindu Ujah
4x400m: Michael Bingham, Hudson-Smith, Nigel Levine, Rooney, Williams, Rabah Yousif
100m: Asha Philip, Ashleigh Nelson, Desiree Henry
200m: Dina Asher-Smith, Bianca Williams, Jodie Williams
400m: Christine Ohuruogu
800m: Jessica Judd, Alison Leonard, Lynsey Sharp
1500m: Hannah England, Laura Muir, Laura Weightman
5000m: Julia Bleasdale, Emelia Gorecka, Jo Pavey
10,000m: Jo Pavey, Beth Potter, Julia Bleasdale
100mH: Tiffany Porter
400mH: Eilidh Child
High jump: Morgan Lake
Hammer throw: Sophie Hitchon
Javelin: Goldie Sayers
4x100m: Louise Bloor, Henry, Nelson, Anyika Onuora, Sophie Papps, Philip, B Williams, J Williams
4x400m: Margaret Adeoye, Child, Shana Cox, Kelly Massey, Emily Diamond, Ohuruogu, Victoria Ohuruogu, J Williams