Sky's the limit for Gemili, says Gay as sprint star lauds 'phenomenal' display
15:45 GMT, 12 July 2012
American Tyson Gay predicted Britain's Adam Gemili will become one of the greatest sprinters of all time after his 'phenomenal' victory in the world junior championships.
Gemili, 18, stormed to victory in Barcelona on Wednesday night, clocking a new personal best and championship record of 10.05 seconds, making him the fastest British junior in history ahead of Dwain Chambers (10.06secs).
European champion Christophe Lemaitre is the only European athlete to have run quicker than Gemili all season, and former triple world champion Gay was suitably impressed by the teenager's performance.
Record breaker: Gemili smashed the championship record en route to gold
'Phenomenal. It was phenomenal,' said Gay, 29, the second fastest man of all time behind Usain Bolt.
'Maybe I can get some tips from him because of the great way he executed (the race).
'He had a great drive phase, came up patient; he did a lot of things I'm working on which I don't know why it's so hard for me to get. He nailed it, man. And he has a lot more potential in the 200m.
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'At 18, that's quite impressive. I think he's going to be around for a while, I think he's going to be one of the greatest sprinters of all time, watching that race. He done it at the big show and that's where it counts.'
Gemili only started concentrating fully on athletics at the start of the year after being a promising footballer previously on the books of Chelsea and Dagenham and Redbridge.
And asked what had impressed him most about the Kent athlete's display, Gay added: 'First of all, he's just started running. That's probably more impressive than anything, for him to pick up the start, the reaction, the drive phase, the finish, in a year. It wasn't perfect but it was damn near.
'For him to do that in a year shows he is a fast learner. And to be running track you have to be a quick learner. You have to come out the blocks, keep focused, react, keep your head down, all at one time in the big show. For him to be able to do that shows he has some talent.
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'He has to keep what he's doing, keep listening to his coach, don't change nothing. Don't listen to all the hype. Just carry on with what you're doing.
'For this next four years I don't think people should look for him to break the world record but for him to maintain and get better.
'The time he ran is great for his age. If he goes 9.99 next year, then 9.92 and then the 9.8s in a steady progression, that's what he's capable of doing as long as he stays healthy.'
Gemili's coach had previously expressed concern about the teenager running in the Olympics, fearing he might never recover from getting burnt out in the 'cauldron' of the Games.
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However, Gay believes Gemili is fearless after seeing him train in Florida, where he has indulged in a bit of friendly 'trash talk' with the Briton and nicknamed him Drake, apparently due to his resemblance to the Canadian rapper.
'I think he's tough man, he just needs experience,' added Gay, who joked he was running 10.46 seconds as an 18-year-old.
'As long as keeps humble, and keeps working hard, I think the sky's the limit for him.
'I don't think it (the 100m final in London) is too much too soon because I think anything can happen. I just think he has to continue what he's doing. You tweak a few things but you don't change nothing.
'He's still rough, he's still new to all this so I don't think you should throw a lot at him. I think he's going to get a lot of attention but as long as he understands and has a good team around him, I think he'll be a great athlete for the future.'
British team captain Dai Greene was also hugely impressed by Gemili's performance, saying: 'I don't know too much about sprinting technicalities but I know he won convincingly and ran a PB. It was really impressive.
'It's nice to have someone running so well at such a young age and he seems to have a good mentality as well. I don't think anyone has a bad word to say about him which is very refreshing.
'He looked very laid back, I don't think he realised the magnitude of what he was doing maybe. I wasn't even good enough to qualify for world juniors, never mind win one.
'He did fantastically well and hopefully he can keep pushing over the next few years and really improve as a senior but he's had a fantastic year. Regardless of what happens at the Olympics he's already exceeded all expectation I think.'