Karate kid Andrew Osagie gets a kick out of Steve Ovett

 

It was in the Big Apple two weeks ago that Andrew Osagie received confirmation that he was starting to truly make a name for himself as an 800m man. There he was, sitting in the meeting hotel after the New York Diamond League, when suddenly Steve Ovett appeared, offering words of encouragement.

"Steve was working for Australian television at the meeting and he came and found me in the hotel lobby," Osagie recounted yesterday. "He told me, 'You've got something; you've just got to keep going; you've got something'.

"Those few words probably mean more than an hour and a half's conversation with a coach telling me, 'This is the training to do'. It's someone who's been there and done it. It was inspirational. It's definitely spurred me on for the next five weeks."

Ovett himself always had something about him as an 800m runner: a combination of speed, power, grace and natural racing nous that took him to Olympic gold in the two-lap event ahead of Sebastian Coe in Moscow in 1980.

It would be stretching the imagination to suggest that Osagie might have the wherewithal to follow in the Brighton native's golden footsteps on the Olympic front in London in August – not least with David Rudisha, the Kenyan world record-holder, beating the best of the rest of the world's half milers by a veritable street these days, as he did in New York.

Still, there is something about Osagie, too. The 24-year-old Essex boy (originally from Harlow, now based at St Mary's University in Twickenham, where he trains under Craig Winrow, a 1996 Olympic 800m veteran) happens to be a black belt at karate but it is not just the feeling that he could handle himself in the rough and tumble of two-lap racing that is reminiscent of Ovett, who took no prisoners when push came to shove. It is more his natural feel for getting into the right places – even if he has not yet managed to get himself into the winner's enclosure on the international scene.

Snatching the bronze medal in the 800m final at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul in March gave a glimpse of Osagie's potential at global level. Third-placed finishes in the Diamond League meetings in Doha, Rome and New York this summer have come as confirmation. The one-time karate kid has dipped under 1 min 45sec in all three races and has chopped his personal best to 1:44.61.

This weekend he has the Aviva 2012 Trials to negotiate in Birmingham, with 2010 European Championship silver medallist Michael Rimmer encouragingly coming back into form after injury. Having been held back himself by injury in the early part of his senior career, Osagie is looking to maintain his promising 2012 momentum – and to keep following in the hallowed footsteps of Ovett, Coe and Co.

"Yeah, of course what they achieved puts pressure on the generations that follow, but I love pressure," he said. "I love competing. I love racing. I love pressure. That's why I'm in the sport. There's nothing better than overcoming a challenge."

Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
News
Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Sport
Tony Bellew (left) and Nathan Cleverly clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool
boxingLate surge sees Liverpudlian move into world title contention
Voices
Neil Findlay
voicesThe vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
food + drinkMeat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin