The European 200m champion reflects on his time out through injury and looks ahead to the Rio Olympics
Adam Gemili says that watching the world’s greatest athlete from the sidelines has convinced him that sprinting is a sport of mind over matter, writes Jack Miller.
Since exploding on to the scene in 2012, the 22-year-old has competed at both an Olympic Games and World Championships, as well as claimed European 200m gold and Commonwealth 100m silver.
The London-born athlete broke the 10-second barrier for 100m for the first time last June, but it was bittersweet as he tore his hamstring in the process, ruling him out of August’s World Championships in Beijing.
Gemili continued his comeback at the recent Glasgow Indoor Grand Prix and is relishing being back in his spikes.
“To be injury-free and competitive again, having my hamstring in one piece, it is a great feeling. It sets me up nicely for the summer ahead.” said Gemili, speaking at a Jaguar Land Rover Academy of Sport workshop at the Loughborough University campus, where more than 20 of the country’s brightest athletes were in attendance.
“Injury taught me a lot. I came into the sport when I was 18 and I’ve not really had a chance to step back from that and have a look at myself.
“Although the injury was really bad it gave me a chance to do that and to look at certain things that we’ve not been able to look at before.
“Really small details that when the season is on you don’t get to do it, plus I got to enjoy watching athletics again – enjoy being a spectator.
“So although the injury was a setback it’s something that will hopefully help me go on and shape the rest of my career.”
Gemili watched on in Beijing as six-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt claimed his third World Championship 100m gold medal but the Briton insists Bolt’s historic triumph only reinforced the idea that self-belief is everything as he looks ahead to this summer’s Olympics.
He said: “If you’re mentally switched on then the rest of your body will follow. As we saw in the 100m, Bolt absolutely killed it.
“He maybe wasn’t in the best physical shape of everyone there, but mentally he’s someone to look up to and aspire to be like. Mentally he’s unbelievable and he came away with three gold medals.
“You have to believe you can be competitive with these guys and you have to have the confidence in your own ability, and I believe in myself fully that I can go to Rio and hopefully get a medal.
“You have to be aiming for that; if you’re aiming for second best you’ll only get second best.
“The likes of Bolt, Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay are not going to be around forever, which is a shame, but when the day comes when they do retire there will be a big hole in athletics, and it will leave a lot of people fighting for the top spots.”
» Land Rover Ambassador Adam Gemili attended the Jaguar Land Rover Academy of Sport workshop alongside David Flatman and SportsAid Patron Bryan Steel. For more information visit sportsaid.org.uk