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UK Athletics

2014 a gem for adam

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Adam Gemili

15th October 2014

Last Saturday, Adam Gemili scooped the European Athletics Rising Star award, which was the perfect icing on the cake after an incredible 2014, which has seen the 21 year-old win medals at both the Commonwealth Games and European Championships, including his first senior title in the 200m at the Europeans.

The year started off with a change of coach for Gemili joining Steve Fudge’s group which includes European 100m champion James Dasaolu and Paralympic, World and European T44 100m champion Jonnie Peacock. The 2012 World Junior 100m champion settled in immediately and has never looked back with medal success throughout the summer.

“We started off the season with some clear goals and we’ve pretty much hit every single one of them. We went to the Commonwealth Games with the aim of taking my first senior medal, and we did that. At the Europeans I knew I was one of the top ranked in the 200m, so the aim was to walk away as the champion and to achieve that was an awesome feeling.”

Gemili’s list of medals included two silver in Glasgow in the 100m and the 4x100m relay, and then double gold over the 200m and the 4x100m relay in Zurich. These were achieved within a couple of weeks and Gemili puts it down to the hard work put in by him and his team as they aimed to peak at the championships.

“I knew I was in good shape and I trusted the work I had been doing with my coach. Going through the heats and the semi-finals I knew I was taking my foot off the gas but was still running very good times – 20.3 and 20.2 – so I knew when I put my foot on the accelerator, I would be running well. However, to equal my personal best in the final into a headwind on a cold night in Zurich was a great feeling and you could see in my face when I crossed the line how shocked I was!”

He returned to the track a few days later as part of the sprint relay team who passed the baton around expertly to allow Gemili to anchor the team home in style.

“The relays are always good to be part of. Any combination of guys we put forward, we are confident that we will run a time which will be competitive. To anchor the team at the Europeans to another gold medal and only be a couple of tenths off the European record, which is also the British record, was a great feeling.

“Track and field is so individual, so it is nice to come together as a team and represent Great Britain & Northern Ireland. It was great fun and I’m very confident in the team going ahead into next year.”

Gemili has been working on his consistency this year and believes the 100m silver for England at Hampden Park gave him the belief to win the gold medals in Switzerland.
“At the Commonwealth Games, it really gave me the confidence. Winning a medal on a senior stage is something all athletes want to do. Then to go into the Europeans as one of the favourites, it gave me the belief.

“The occasion never really fazes me. I’m very lucky that mentally I always prepare myself well. I was in good shape and I knew as long as I executed my race as I know I can, I would have a good chance.”

All these successes were rightfully rewarded with a nomination for the European Athletics Rising Star award at the Golden Tracks ceremony in Azerbaijan. He won the award ahead of fellow Briton, Matthew Hudson-Smith, who won European 400m silver this year. It was a special accolade for Gemili as he joined Europe’s top performers on the stage.

“Just to be nominated is a great thing. I was nominated last year but didn’t win. To win it and be recognised for your achievements, not just in Britain but amongst all the European athletes is quite special, and I was proud to collect the honour.”

On his return from Baku, winter training is now underway once more but he admits that he enjoyed the break from athletics but admits his coach may not have enjoyed it so much!

“I started off playing football but I got a bit of a telling off from my coach and he told me just to relax. It was nice to wake up and not have athletics or university to think about and to eat whatever I wanted to. I’m known as ‘no abs Adam’ so I had to live up to the name and eat as much as I could!

“You need that rest both physically and mentally – but I feel like I rested well and I started to miss training so I’m glad to be starting training again this week.”

Gemili will prepare now for the challenges ahead in 2015 with an eye on the Rio Olympic Games a year later. However, he and his team are sticking to their plan and will choose the events which he will compete in closer to the time.

“It’s always about peaking at the championships and that’s what we always aim for. We don’t aim to run quick at the trials, we race to make the team and then run quick at the championships. I didn’t double up at the championships this year because I’m still very young – the sport that we are in, injuries play a massive part, so it’s about not putting my body through too much whilst I’m young.

“I’m still growing and maturing. I’m not going to go to major championships and double up at the moment. I’ve been competitive and won medals in both events this year, so one day when I am older, I can potentially do that if I feel I am able to.

“Going into next year I’ve got the European U23 Championships and the World Championships in Beijing. These are the two which I have to consider and which event I do at each will be decided closer to the time depending on how training is going.”