Gemili targeting Rio medal
Gemili targeting Rio medal

Adam Gemili ran a season’s best before insisting he was capable of bringing home a medal from Rio this summer.

Adam Gemili 2016

The British sprinter clocked a time of 20.07 seconds in the 200 metres at London’s Anniversary Games on Friday night, finishing third behind star attraction Usain Bolt and Panama’s Alonso Edward.

The result came as a welcome boost for Gemili ahead of the Olympic athletics schedule, which gets underway on August 12. The 22-year-old was forced to miss last year’s World Championships with a hamstring tear that also curtailed his ability to train earlier this season.

victory in his first race back from a hamstring injury, Gemili was adamant he could hold his own against the world record-holder and stand alongside him on the 200m podium in Rio.

“If I’m aiming just to be a lane-filler then that’s probably the best I’m ever going to get,” Gemili told reporters. “I have to keep that belief every day that I can go out there and win the gold. As crazy as that sounds with the talent that there is in the world, if I think any other way then I’m never going to achieve that.

“I have to have confidence in my training that I’m working as hard as everyone else in the world, and when I do go out and compete, mentally I’m very tough and physically I’m in good shape. I have the confidence that I’ll go out there and medal. Fingers crossed I’ll do my best and hopefully we see a medal.”

Like Bolt, Gemili has been struck by the plague of the hamstring injury, tearing the muscle last June and only returning to competitive action in February this year. He has since been dealing with aches and pains but insisted he was reaching his peak in time for the Olympics.

That claim is being backed up by results. He claimed a narrow victory over 200m at the British Championships in June and was part of Great Britain’s 4x100m quartet that won European gold in Amsterdam earlier this month.

“The season started off slow,” Gemili said. “I had a couple of niggles early on and even now I’m coming off the back of a cold. I was looking to get under 20 seconds [on Friday]. That didn’t happen, but I was in good company out there. Third place at the Diamond League, I’m happy with it.

“You want to be running your fastest times in Rio. There’s no point running your fastest times in April, May or June. I’ll go away and work, then hopefully be peaking for Rio. I’ll give it my best shot and, whatever position that gets me to, hopefully everyone’s entertained and happy.”

Bolt was back to race in the stadium where he claimed three golds at London 2012 and, while he didn’t quite look his fluent best, the Jamaican cruised home as the only man to break the 20 second mark on the fast, freshly-laid track.

Gemili admitted it was a privilege to race alongside the Olympic and World champion, although he was shunted out to lane eight while Bolt enjoyed centre stage two inside him. The Jamaican will be targeting an historic ‘triple-triple’ of golds in Rio and his British challenger was eager to soak up some of his star power in London.

“[Bolt’s] been there, he’s done it all,” Gemili said. “He’s an Olympic gold medalist, defended it, a world record-holder. You just see the way he conducts himself. He’s a very different stature to me, so maybe his technique in running the 200 is different to mine, but mentally you don’t get a tougher athlete.

“It’s his first 200 of the season and to run sub-20 is phenomenal. You can always learn and I’m very lucky to be in that period where he is competing before he does end up retiring. Maybe then I can go and get into my peak. If you’re racing in the same race as Usain Bolt, you’re in a good place.

“I was in lane eight here, out of the way. They said let the big man get in the middle and let him be by himself! But I prepare for any lane that I’m running in, whoever’s inside or outside me — Usain, Justin Gatlin, whoever’s in that final. I do my best to focus on my own race and execute to the best of my ability.”

Meanwhile, Folkestone’s Jack Green ran his third fastest time in the 400 metre hurdles to finish fifth in the final on Saturday afternoon.

Dina Asher-Smith finished fourth in the women’s 100 metre final in a time of 11.09 seconds , whilst helping the 4×100 metre squad to gold in a new British record time of 41.91 seconds.


 
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