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GEMILI TO COMPETE AT AVIVA 2012 TRIALS

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Adam Gemili

18 June

Britain’s fastest man this year, Adam Gemili (Michael Afilaka), has confirmed that he will compete over 100m at the Aviva 2012 Trials on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 June at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium.

The Blackheath & Bromley Harrier rose to prominence two weeks ago when he twice ran the 100m Olympic A qualification standard in Regensburg, Germany, with the personal best time of 10.08 that he ran that day also a European record for his age. Having decided to compete at Trials following a season that has surprised even himself, Gemili will run in what is likely to be a tightly contested men’s 100m event. He is eager to impress in front of the eyes of the British public.

“I am very excited to get the opportunity to compete in the Olympic trials, especially when it is for a home Games. I just want to go out there and run to show everyone what I can do.”

Gemili, who is now also the second fastest European this year behind France’s Christophe Lemaitre, is undaunted – and even excited – at the prospect of going head-to-head with some of the athletes that he looked up to in his youth as they seek to qualify for London 2012.

“Growing up watching these sprinters on television was very inspiring and the fact that I now have the chance to line up and race against them will feel amazing. I am looking forward to it greatly and just hope that I can do well and perform how I know I can when I’m up against them.”

The European under-20 silver medallist remains undecided about competing at the Olympic Games themselves. Whilst also weighing up the option of competing at the World Junior Championships instead of London 2012 this summer, he is approaching the Aviva 2012 Trials with an open mind after an already impressive season.

“For me there is no pressure at all. I had no intention to even do these trials at the start of the year so the fact I’m doing them now is just a big bonus. I want to go and have fun and get some good experience racing against the top sprinters from Great Britain.

Gemili will be joined in the men’s 100m at the Aviva 2012 Trials by a large field that includes several Olympic, World and European medal winners.

Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, himself a former teenage sensation and 100m World Junior Champion in 2006, sums up the situation as a surplus of high-profile sprinters battle for a maximum of only three individual 100m Olympic places in Birmingham.

He said: “Trials are going to be immense. You have got to come with your A game obviously. Everyone else is. There’s me, Dwain Chambers, Tyrone Edgar, James Ellington, Adam Gemili, James Dasaolu, Andy Robertson, Danny Talbot – the list goes on. If everyone comes in their best shape, it’s going to be really tough to make the final, let alone the Olympic team.”

After finishing second in last year’s Trials – a result which would guarantee him Olympic nomination on June 23 if he also runs an A standard time - Aikines-Aryeetey understands the pressure of a final at Trials, where fractions of a second could make all the difference.

“The fact that one little slip up could cost you a chance to go to the Olympics, that’s not exactly what you want.”

Mark Lewis-Francis, another British former World Junior Champion, experienced Trials success as a teenager himself when he ran to victory as a 19-year-old in the 2002 Commonwealth Trials. He has since experienced the highs of an Olympic 4x100m relay gold medal in 2004 as well as suffering in equal measure from frustrating injuries over the years, one of which kept him away from Beijing 2008.

The Aviva 2012 Trials are possibly the final time he will go toe-to-toe against his countrymen for an Olympic spot and the 29-year-old believes that he holds at least one ace up his sleeve – home advantage.

“It will be great to compete at my home stadium. The love I get from the locals and the people I grew up with is amazing and always inspirational. It gives you that motivation to dig in that little bit more.

“The last three or four years I’ve come to Trials and messed up, so I’m determined to come to these Trials and finish in the top three, that’s the aim. I think I’m capable of doing that and there’s nothing in my way to not do that. I just need to dig in and be that championship performer everyone knows me to be.”

The Birchfield Harrier, whilst aware of the potent threats posed by both young and old over 100m this year at Trials, does not discriminate when it comes to who he classifies as his leading rivals.

“Whoever stands on the line is my rival. I can’t really separate anybody, or single anybody out. Whoever turns up on the day, whoever is ready to run, now that’s my rival. We’ve got a couple of good young guys coming through and a couple of old guys coming through. It’s just a case of going to Trials, raising your game and trying to be the best that you can be.

“My sole motivation is to get into this team. I think this is the first time in my career that I’ve wanted something so bad, so I’m ready to go.”

The Darlaston native pulls no punches when describing how his ideal summer would unfold.

“Competing at London 2012, a 100m final in front of 80,000 British people – now that would be an amazing year for Mark Lewis-Francis.”

The men’s 100m heats, semi-finals and final are scheduled for Friday 22 and Saturday 23 June.

Back the team and watch over 750 of Britain’s best athletes in action at the Aviva 2012 Trials at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium from 22nd-24th June. For tickets visit www.uka.org.uk/aviva-series or call 08000 55 60 56.