World Championship: Adam Gemili quickly making up ground after career change

 

Moscow

And to think… instead of settling into his starting blocks next to Usain Bolt in the World Championship 200m final yesterday, Adam Gemili might have been lining up for Dagenham and Redbridge at Glanford Park, home of Scunthorpe United.

At the start of the football season before last, the Dartford flyer was on the books of the Daggers, playing right-back on loan to Thurrock. Two years on, the teenager's speed was being put to better use: in lane five of the Luzhniki Stadium, one lane outside the record-chasing Lightning Bolt. At 26, Bolt was chasing a seventh World Championship gold medal, a ninth medal in all. With the 4 x 100m relay to come today, Carl Lewis' record of 10 medals was in the sights of the 6ft 5in clown prince of the sprint game. At just 19, Gemili was running in his first senior major championship final, 12 months on from making the Olympic 100m semi-finals in his maiden season as a footballer-turned-sprinter.

Having smashed through the 20sec barrier with his 19.98sec semi-final win on Friday, the question was: could the Kentish Billy Whizz claim a place on the World Championship podium – a feat Bolt, for all his years as a teenage sensation, did not manage to achieve until the month after his 21st birthday, when he took silver behind Tyson Gay in Osaka in 2007. He gave it a right good go. Unfazed on the start line, Gemili beamed his megawatt smile when he was introduced to the crowd. "Wow!" he exclaimed.

He maintained his composure when Bolt zipped past around the bend and was battling for the bronze until the 30 metres from the line. Still, fifth place in 20.08sec represented another major step.

"What an experience this whole champs has been for me," he reflected. "I thought I could be in the medal mix but I'm very lucky. I'm really happy."

There is clearly much more to come. It was only in the latter months of 2011 that Gemili started full-time sprint training and he has yet to have a full winter's training behind him. In March this year, he was on crutches after undergoing a foot operation.

Only one British sprinter has gone quicker at 200m. That is the 14st 10lb outhouse known as John Regis, who clocked 19.94 en route to World Championship silver in Stuttgart in 1993, then improved his GB record to 19.87 a year later. Regis remains the only British sprinter to have won a World Championship 200m medal.

It might have been different for him, too. His boyhood dream was to follow in the stud marks of his cousin, the England striker Cyrille Regis, and he spent four weeks on trial with Newcastle as a teenager.

"I can remember playing against Kevin Keegan in training," Regis recalled. "I was a charging right winger but they were looking for someone with a bit more subtlety."

Sunday's main events

Women's 4x100m relay heats (1.15pm; GB heat 2)

Men's Triple jump final (1.45pm)

Men's 4x100m relay heats (1.50pm; GB heat 1)

Men's 1,500m final (2.25pm; Chris O'Hare)

Women's 800m final (2.50pm)

Women's 4x100m relay final (3.10pm)

Men's 4x100m relay final (3.40pm)

Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
The John Peel Lecture has previously been given by Pete Townshend of The Who, Billy Bragg and Charlotte Church
musicGodfather of punk will speak on 'free music in a capitalist society'
News
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
News
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments