Team GB's Margaret Adeoye has credited coach Linford Christie and her uncle for helping her get to the Games.
“My uncle Baalie was like a second dad to me,” said the 200 metres sprinter from Enfield, who is making her Olympics debut. “He loved running and athletics and I used to watch all the sports with him on telly.
“He was the one who was always saying, ‘Come on, let’s go down the track and do some running.’ I’d be like, ‘Oh no uncle. I just wanna veg!’
“But I’d go and I did enjoy it. It was only after he died that I realised how much running meant to me, so being in the Olympics is really down to him.”
Adeoye, 27, was born in Nigeria but came to London as a child, where her potential was spotted at school.
With her uncle’s encouragement she trained at Enfield and Haringey Athletics Club and was one of her generation’s most promising juniors, but missed out on qualifying for the 2008 Games.
In 2010, while studying business management at Surrey University, she became British University champion in the 200m and was spotted by former Olympic gold medallist Christie, who added her to his stable of young athletes. He has turned her from a gifted junior into a senior with international potential.
“Linford has been incredible at getting me to improve and believe in myself. He’s given me such a good mental attitude,” she said.
After overcoming Achilles injuries, Adeoye has been on good form. She won the Aviva indoor trials with a personal best of 23.36 seconds and is ranked number one in Europe, although she will have formidable competition from Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown.
But Adeoye believes home advantage will drive her on. “Just getting my kit and realising I was in the Olympics was amazing enough, now I just want to get out there and do the business,” she said.
“I can’t imagine what it will be like to walk into that stadium and know my mum and dad and aunties and uncles will be there, and have Linford beside them — the thought makes me go all teary.”
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