Sprinter believes British athletes should have sights set on medals

The standard of athletics and particularly sprinting in the UK means that athletes should be upping their ambitions from making major championships finals to winning medals, believes Adam Gemili.

The sprinter knows fans need new stars to get behind, especially following the retirement of world record-holder Usain Bolt and Mo Farah’s switch from track to road.

Frustrated by injury problems in 2017 and more recently at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Gemili feels even more motivated ahead of the summer as he hopes to be among those contributing to GB’s medal haul at events such as the new Athletics World Cup in London on July 14-15 and European Championships in Berlin from August 7-12.

“The British Champs are going to be exciting, there’s a lot of sprinters now competing for places and making it very tough for potentially making teams now, which is what you want,” he says, with this summer’s national championships incorporating the trials for both the World Cup and Europeans.

“If you make that team you raise your game, you know you’re going to be one of the best in the world.

“In my opinion, if you make a British team you shouldn’t be content with just making a final now, that should be a bare minimum, especially as a sprinter because we’ve got such talent. It should be about getting those medals, getting those places and filling the shoes of a Mo (Farah) or a Jess (Ennis-Hill), who were always guaranteeing these medals.”

“If you make a British team you shouldn’t be content with just making a final now, that should be a bare minimum”

The 24-year-old suffered with a leg problem last summer but returned in fine fashion to form part of Britain’s world gold medal-winning 4x100m team in London in August.

He also had ambitions of making the podium at the Commonwealth Games in Australia but tore his adductor in his 100m semi-final, ruling him out of both the final and the relay.

“People see me now, having the injury last year and pulling up in the Commonwealths, and people might be tempted to go ‘oh you’re so fragile’,” he says. “I’m not. People have always struggled with injuries in their career. For me, it’s just that in Britain we’re a bit more in the spotlight and it’s made a massive deal of when that happens.”

Now back in training and targeting a return ahead of the Oslo Diamond League, the three-time European medallist adds: “I’m at an age now where it’s no longer okay to just say ‘oh, next time’. The years are going by.

“I’m 24 now, I was 18 when I came into the sport and it feels like it has just flown by. I’ve got to make the most of every year.

“You miss an opportunity in the summer, like I did last summer – I was very fortunate with the relay that I got a chance to run and we ended up winning gold – but you miss an opportunity in the summer, you train so hard in the winter months that you have to wait a whole year to get another chance.

“It’s so brutal, track and field, but it’s so exciting at the same time. I’m very motivated and hungry to go out there and do what I think I can.”

» See the May 10 edition of AW magazine for more from an interview with Adam Gemili

» Further details on the Athletics World Cup can be found at www.athleticsworldcup.org