Gemili in good form and excited about 'bonus' 100m heats


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The Independent Online

This is bonus time for Adam Gemili. A couple of months ago he expected to be on his holidays come the Olympic Games. "I was going to run at the World Junior Championships and then take a break," the teenage sprinter said. "We might have gone to Morocco to see some family. My dad's from there."

Instead, Gemili is getting ready to run in today's 100m heats at the London Olympics. "It's just a huge bonus for me," the 18-year-old Dartford flyer said.

It is a well-earned bonus. Twelve months ago Gemili was a footballing wannabe, a right-back who was formerly on Chelsea's books and was a member of the academy squad at Dagenham & Redbridge. It was only in January that he started sprinting full-time under the guidance of Michael Afilaka, yet in June he finished runner-up to Dwain Chambers at the Olympic trials in Birmingham and three weeks ago he won the world junior title in Barcelona in a stunning 10.05sec.

The former Dagger stands to become the first teenager to break 10 seconds for 100m but insists he has no targets in mind. "I'm in good form going into the Olympics," Gemili said. "I'm in good shape. I'm just going to try and run each round how I can and if I get knocked out in the heat then it's not meant to be.

"But I think there's potential for me to, hopefully, get to the semi and even get to the final. If I keep working hard and execute a good race on the day and other things happen with other people then it could potentially happen."

The British novice could potentially find himself pitted against Usain Bolt. "I'd just be so excited to be next to him on the start line," Gemili said of the reigning Olympic champion and world record holder, who goes into the heats with a question mark against his form and fitness following his 100m and 200m defeats against Yohan Blake at the Jamaican trials.

Might Gemili find it difficult to contain his excitement, trying to compete on level terms with someone he regards as an idol? "When the race came, I think I'd be focused," he said. "I'd just try to stay relaxed next to him and focus on my lane. You can take pictures and get autographs after the race."