An interview with the British 100m champion following his victory in Birmingham
Chijindu Ujah admits he has felt the weight of expectation on his young shoulders over the last 12 months but believes he can handle the pressure after being crowned 100m champion at the Sainsbury’s British Championships, writes Marios Papaloizou.
The 21-year-old became the fifth British sprinter to break the 10-second barrier for 100m last year when he clocked 9.96.
That performance produced a wave of optimism over Ujah’s potential but it hasn’t always been plain sailing and he was disqualified in the 60m final at the European Indoor Championships earlier this year.
However, the outdoor season has brought consistency and Ujah clocked 10.10 to take the British crown on Sunday ahead of James Dasaolu and seal his spot at next month’s IAAF World Championships in Beijing.
“It went relatively well, I’m really happy about being British champion,” said Ujah. “I had some big learning curves this year, I came on to the scene pretty much unknown running sub-10.
“Going into every other competition with that expectation on your shoulders has been difficult but every dog has their day and you know one day that something amazing will come.
“The aim was to come here, execute, get through the rounds and win it so now I have done that I can go back into training and be ready for Worlds.
“I have been more consistent this year in terms of my times so hopefully I can do better and push for medals next year in Rio.”
Ujah is one of a crop of sprint talents gracing the sport at the moment with the likes of Dasaolu, Adam Gemili and Richard Kilty.
And 19-year-old Zharnel Hughes – who took 200m gold on Saturday – also appears in the ranks after being cleared to compete for Great Britain last month.
“The guys that are coming through are all young. You just saw my training partner (Ojie Edoburun) get a medal in third,” said Ujah.
“I competed against Zharnel at the Commonwealth Youth Games so seeing him grow the way he has is brilliant.
“He wasn’t particularly fast then but he has developed into a good athlete and he has come here and executed in front of a crowd that he has never been in front of which is good for him.”
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