Tag Archives: dagenham

London 2012 Olympics: Tyson Gay lauds "phenomenal" Adam Gemili

Sky's the limit for Gemili, says Gay as sprint star lauds 'phenomenal' display

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UPDATED:

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

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.

Rising star: Gay has tipped Gemili for the top

Rising star: Gay has tipped Gemili for the top

'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.

Centre of attention: Gay is the second fastest sprinter of all time

Centre of attention: Gay is the second fastest sprinter of all time

'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.

Flying the flag: The British star set a new personal best on Wednesday

Flying the flag: The British star set a new personal best on Wednesday

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.'

London 2012 Olympics: Adam Gemili looking for boost at World Junior Championships

Gemili eyes pre-Olympic boost as sprinter gears up for World Junior Championships

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UPDATED:

18:12 GMT, 9 July 2012

Teenage sprinter Adam Gemili is hoping to emulate the success enjoyed by fellow Britons Christian Malcolm, Mark Lewis-Francis and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey when he continues his Olympic preparations at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona this week.

Gemili was last week named in the 71-strong Team GB squad for this summer's Games after finishing second to Dwain Chambers at the Olympic trials in June.

Raring to go: Gemili was talking in Barcelona ahead of the World Junior Championships

Raring to go: Gemili was talking ahead of the World Junior Championships

Raring to go: Gemili was talking in Barcelona ahead of the World Junior Championships

The former footballer has exploded on to the scene this year and leads the UK rankings with a time of 10.08 seconds, and he will be firm favourite for 100m gold at Barcelona's 1992 Olympic Stadium this week, with the heats taking place on Tuesday and the semi-final and final being held on Wednesday.

If he achieves that, he would become the fourth Briton to do it after Malcolm (1998), Lewis-Francis (2000) and Aikines-Aryeetey (2006).

'Obviously those three others are amazing in what they've done,' said Gemili.

Olympic dream: Gemili with former Olympic champion Wilson Kipketer of Denmark

Olympic dream: Gemili with former Olympic champion Wilson Kipketer of Denmark

'They've come to the junior champs and done so well. I look up to them. Hopefully I will follow in their footsteps.'

Gemili, who was on the books of Chelsea, Reading and Dagenham and Redbridge until he decided to concentrate on athletics in January, added on www.iaaf.org: 'At the start of the year the World Junior Championships was my main aim. The Olympics was just a massive bonus and I'm still focusing on the World Juniors now.

'I've come here to do as well as I can. Me and my coach (Michael Afilaka) have worked really really hard so that I can do the best I can and hopefully maintain it to the Olympic Games and do well there also.'

Switch in focus: Gemili (right) was playing professional football until January

Switch in focus: Gemili (right) was playing professional football until January

Having run 10.08 already this year, the World Junior Championships 100m record of 10.09 set by Trinidad and Tobago's Darrel Brown in Jamaica in 2002 could be under threat, but Gemili preferred not to make any predictions.

'I'm not looking to talking times. I want to execute my race and perform well. If I do that I will be happy,' he said.

'The last month or so has been really hectic and manic but I've enjoyed every moment of it and enjoyed showing people what I can do and how I can run.'

Nike British 10k race running blog: Final countdown

Hit the road, Matt: Kneesy does it… Fine tuning as final countdown commences

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UPDATED:

15:13 GMT, 1 July 2012

Nike British 10k Run

Sportsmail's Matt Lawless has taken up the challenge of running the British 10K powered by Nike+.

Here, he will share the highs, lows, aches and pains of his training during the countdown to the big race in July.

How will he fare in what will be his first-ever competitive run

Keep track of Matt's progress at: www.dailymail.co.uk/sport

One week to go. The reality hits home as I get set to join 25,000 runners pounding the streets of London in seven days time.

I can’t wait to stride past some of the capital’s most iconic landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, St Paul's Cathedral, the London Eye and Big Ben.

Nervous Naturally. But I’m looking forward to seeing a few familiar faces along the way.

Leo Spall is among them. The marathon veteran will be running his third 10k and I expect to see him surge ahead of me early on as he looks to smash his impressive personal best of 39mins 26secs.

London calling: Matt will stride past some of the capital's most famous landmarks during his 10k run

London calling: Matt will stride past some of the capital's most famous landmarks during his 10k run

Another Sportsmail
colleague of mine, Laura Williamson, is taking part too. While I’ve
been avoiding the potholes in Dagenham, Laura has fined-tuned her final race day
preparations in Eugene – home of the US track and field Olympics trials!

I also have some friends competing in
aid of various good causes too and I would like to wish them the very
best of luck.

The key for me on the day will be to
not get overwhelmed by the occasion. Running requires a strong mental
attitude. The mantra of ‘go hard or go home’ kicks in. Fail to prepare
or prepare to fail. Cliches, of course, but the distance must be
respected with positivity. Come next Sunday morning, I’ll be fully in
the zone as it if were a football match.

My target time If I can do it in
under 55 minutes, I’d be pleased. I know I can go faster but this is my
first experience participating in a competitive running environment so
I’m setting myself what feels like a sensible (and realistic) target.

Race day itself, I’m told, will be a
different scene altogether from training alone. There are well-wishers
cheering you on and other runners to test yourself against. Plenty to
inspire.

So, what could possibly go wrong My
primary concern is my troublesome knee. Excuses No, not at all. Last
week I enlisted the support of Intelligent Training Systems biomechanics
coach Anthony Fletcher (or Fletch) to see if he could shed some light
on the matter. And he did…

Start me up: Sportsmail's Matt Lawless will join the runners competing in London on July 8

Start me up: Sportsmail's Matt Lawless will join the runners competing in London on July 8

SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE

If you’re taking part in the 10k British race and a first time runner like me, I’d love to hear from you and share the journey along the way before the main event.

And if you’re an experienced pacemaker, I’d be keen to hear your thoughts and advice too.

Follow me on Twitter and stay tuned for my next post…

Thrill seeker Fletch, who has been
working in the fitness industry for as long as he cares to remember, was
recommended by Nike training expert Sonja Moses and the three of us
hooked up at GymBox in Bank to get to the root and cause of my injury
problems.

His methods would seem unorthodox to
some; revolutionary to others. Fletch has worked with a host of top
level athletes and recently did some work with the Irish rugby side.

He assessed my running technique with
Gait Analysis, recording a short burst of mine on the treadmill. Gait,
as previously mentioned in one of my earlier blogs, studies human motion
and helps highlight how you are performing (where feet land as you are
running etc).

Enlarge

Man with a plan: Training begins with a gentle run just under the midway point of 5km

Man with a plan: Matt's training regime is coming together with just a weeto go

From here, you can discover whether
your technique is upsetting your balance and if it is causing an issue
in specific parts of the body. For instance, it could be that one side
of your shoulders are higher than the other, or one leg is longer than
then other. Or it may be the hip is slightly out of sync.

This can have a knock on effect on
other parts of the body. If there is a problem with the hip, the knee
could come under pressure. This is a common problem for most and one I
have had to rectify with some simple exercises expertly practised with
Fletch.

Has it worked I’d say it is working,
so far. I plan to see Fletch again ahead of Sunday’s race, in which
time he and Sonja should have me fully prepared to go out in a blaze of
glory.

If you’re running on Sunday, good luck and see you at the finish line. I can’t wait!

For more information on the British 10K powered by Nike+ go to: www.facebook.com/NikeRunningUKTo discover more about Anthony Fletcher and Intelligent Training Systems, visit: http://www.intelligenttrainingsystems.com/anthony-fletcher.php

London 2012 Olympics: Adam Gemili place in doubt

Gemili's coach casts doubt over sprinter's Olympic place despite securing qualification

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 24 June 2012

The coach of teenager sprinter Adam Gemili is not yet convinced he is mentally ready for the cauldron of the Olympics after revealing he was an emotional wreck after guaranteeing selection for London 2012 by finishing second to Dwain Chambers in the 100 metres at the trials.

The 18-year-old, who leads the British rankings this year with 10.08 seconds, booked his place at the Games with a top-two finish at Birmingham's Alexander Stadium, but his coach Michael Afilaka insists deciding whether he should go is anything but a straightforward decision.

The main target of the former footballer, who was on the books of Chelsea, Reading and Dagenham and Redbridge until he decided to concentrate on athletics in January, is the 100 and 200m at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona, which get under way on July 10.

Made it: Adam Gemili has booked his place at the London Olympics

Made it: Adam Gemili has booked his place at the London Olympics

And Afilaka claims there is currently only a 51 per cent chance he will also compete in London.

He said: 'It's not about turning it down. The key is that we have to remember this is a young kid and everybody is getting carried away.

'It's not the World Juniors versus the Olympics. It's always been the juniors and the Olympics is just a bonus. We have to be sensible. We don't want to deviate from the plan.

'Eleven months ago the aim for Adam was to make the relay six for the junior team and he was not good enough to do that.

'If you throw him into the cauldron of the Olympics and he gets burned then he might never recover.

'I'm not saying we're not going to do it. I'm just saying that right now the plan is World Juniors and we'll adjust accordingly.'

Thrilling finish: Dwain Chambers won the 100m final ahead on Gemili on Sunday

Thrilling finish: Dwain Chambers won the 100m final ahead on Gemili on Sunday

Afilaka insists the fact the Olympics are in London will play no part in his decision.

'It's irrelevant,' he said. 'The reality is the competition doesn't change. I'm very clear what that competition is and it's brutal – from getting kitted out to walking into the Olympics Stadium.

'I've been there, seen it, trust me. He's not just a young kid, he's young to athletics. I'm not saying no, but it really has to be a day-by-day decision.'

Gemili had looked the smoothest of the qualifiers into Saturday's 100m final, but was pipped by Chambers, 16 years his senior, who took the title in 10.25 seconds, 0.04secs ahead of his young rival.

That final was the highest-profile race Gemili has been in in his fledgling career, but the spotlight at the Olympics will be something else entirely.

Hot topic: Gemili has yet to confirm that he will take his place at the Games

Hot topic: Gemili has yet to confirm that he will take his place at the Games

Afilaka added: 'You have a number of British athletes who have been on their own, but sprinkle a couple of Americans in and they go blank. The development is not just physical, it's mental as well.

'If you saw him yesterday evening he was an emotional wreck. Literally, with no asking him, I knew there was no way he could do the 200 today. We have to be very sensible.'

The UK Athletics selectors will meet on July 2 to decide on the team for London, so Afilaka and Gemili will make a decision on his involvement over the next week.

London 2012 Games: Adam Gemili in no rush to commit to Olympics

Sprint sensation Gemili in no rush to commit to Olympics with World Juniors on horizon

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UPDATED:

22:42 GMT, 8 June 2012

Britain's sprint sensation Adam Gemili
is more focused on qualifying for the World Junior Championships next
month rather than pushing for a place in the Team GB squad for the
Olympics.

Gemili, 18, became the second-fastest
British junior of all time over 100 metres when he clocked 10.08
seconds in Germany last weekend – well inside the Olympic qualifying
time.

Focused: teenage sprinter Adam Gemili

Focused: teenage sprinter Adam Gemili

Triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt had warned Gemili about the mental strength required to compete in the Games but the teenager revealed his main aim is to make the World Junior Championships in Barcelona.

'At the moment my main focus is going to be the World Juniors and go to the trials and hopefully make the team,' he said.

'The trials are only five days apart so my body will still be recovering and I don't want to go to the Olympic trials half-hearted and not at my best.

'If I was to make the Olympic team it would be a bonus because the World Juniors has been my main aim this year.'

Also a keen footballer, Gemili was in the Dagenham and Redbridge squad last season after starting out as a youngster at European champions Chelsea and did not even contemplate making the Olympic squad until his impressive outing at the Sparkassen Gala.

He said: 'Before I ran 10.08 I wasn't even considering the Olympics at all, maybe perhaps (I thought about) trying to run quick and get in for the relay but when I ran 10.08 it became more of a possibility.

'It is a good situation to be in rather than a negative one because have the option. It feels good because of the support I'm getting and the messages from everyone.'

Warning: Olympic champion Usain Bolt

Warning: Olympic champion Usain Bolt

Splitting his time between football and athletics was always going to be an issue when a time came to choose which would be the main focus but Gemili has settled with athletics and is looking to keep improving.

He said: 'Until this year I haven't been put up into a formal set-up but now I'm on a much more organised and structured training regime.

'Between October and January I mixed football and athletics but the decision came to either stop athletics totally and go with football or do both – and in January I decided to go with athletics.

'It could be possible if I keep progressing – I've just got to see how things go. I'm just looking to get more races and more wins under my belt.

'Technically I'm still improving, I think I've improved a lot in one year but there is a lot more that can be worked on.'

Dwain Chambers, who is still hoping to make the Olympic squad, is the only British sprinter in history to set a quicker 100m time as a junior and Gemili is delighted to be as quick as some of his idols, but also insisted he will continue to train and race his way.

'I'm really thrilled with what I have run and it does feel great that I've run quicker than all these guys you see on TV and it is great to know you're up there on a similar level with them,' he said.

'I'm just going to go and do my own race and do what I need to do – it is only me who can control what I do, I will go in to races and stick to my game plan, not run anyone else's race.'

London 2012 Olympics: Adam Gemili confirms he wants to run at Games

EXCLUSIVE: Sprinter Gemili says: I'm raring to go for the Olympics

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UPDATED:

21:51 GMT, 5 June 2012

Sprinter Adam Gemili has confirmed he wants to run at the Olympics this summer.

The 18-year-old sensation ran 100 metres in 10.08sec on Saturday, making him the fastest runner in Britain and the second fastest in Europe this year.

He has achieved the qualifying time for London and will be guaranteed a place if he finishes in the top two at the trials in Birmingham, starting on June 22.

Out of the blocks: Adam Gemili training in London on Tuesday

Out of the blocks: Adam Gemili training in London on Tuesday

The former Dagenham and Redbridge footballer has the World Junior Championships trials in Bedford six days earlier.

Gemili told Sportsmail on Tuesday: 'I'd love to go to the Olympics, but I don't want to run half-hearted at the trials.

‘I need to go there in good form and confident that I can get through and qualify. I don’t want to be tired from the week before.’

Olympic dream: Adam Gemili wants to run at the London Games

Olympic dream: Adam Gemili wants to run at the London Games

Talks with his experienced sprint coach Michael Afilaka continue, but if he continues to show this form he will be a serious threat to the senior British sprinters.

He is almost certain to be part of the relay team after his explosive time in Germany at the weekend, when a new sprint star was born.

Coach Afilaka said: ‘They can’t ignore him now he’s run that time. He’s the fastest man in the country at the moment.’

And Gemili added: ‘We’ll have the discussion about if I can cope with it after the junior trials, which remain important to me and my development.

‘That is my main target. It would be great to achieve a place at the Olympics, because the trials only come around once every four years. I’ve just got to wait and see how I feel. Right now, I feel great.’

Even if Gemili, who left Chelsea because he could not commit to an academy contract at the football club, does not make it in the individual 100m he would be keen to race as part of Great Britain’s Olympic 4x100m relay team.

He added: ‘For the relay I’ve put myself in the position where people are going to consider me. Just making the squad for the relay would be amazing, such a treat.

Part of the team: Gemili says he would like to be part of the relay team if he does not make the individual event

Part of the team: Gemili says he would like to be part of the relay team if he does not make the individual event

‘It’s the Olympics and at 18 to get that experience will be unreal, the best thing in the world. Even if you don’t run, just being there, in the Olympic village, being able to go to the track and watch it would be amazing.’

Coach Afilaka added: ‘Mark Lewis-Francis had the opportunity to try for the 2000 Olympics but went to the World Junior Championships instead and won gold.
‘Christian Malcolm ran 200m in the Juniors in 1998 and won silver in the Commonwealth Games that year too.

‘From that point of view it wouldn’t be a crazy achievement if he did it. But the senior guys are senior guys because they’re very good.

‘If we do the senior trial those guys are animals. Those guys are hard. They aren’t going to roll over for a fresh-faced 18-year-old kid.

‘I’ve trained those guys for Olympics and I know what they’re like.’

London 2012 Olympics: Adam Gemili runs fast 100m

From football wannabe to Olympic sprinter – Gemili is Britain's bolt from the blue

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 3 June 2012

Adam Gemili’s heart was set last year on becoming a professional footballer. The teenager’s goal after this weekend may be to run in the Olympic Games in London.

Gemili, a full back on the books of League Two side Dagenham and Redbridge, rose to the top of the year’s British 100 metres rankings when he ran inside the Olympic selection qualifying standard, not once but twice.

In heats at a meeting in Regensburg, Germany, he opened with 10.11sec, inside the 10.18sec which Britain’s Olympic selectors are demanding and which has so far defied all Britain’s experienced sprinters.

Leader of the pack: Adam Gemili is the only Brit to set the A standard in the 100m

Leader of the pack: Adam Gemili is the only Brit to set the A standard in the 100m

In the final he improved to 10.08sec, the fastest time ever run by a European 18-year-old — and he was last out of the blocks. Only Dwain Chambers among Britons has ever run faster as a junior, but he was 19 at the time.

‘When I ran my heat and saw I’d run 10.11 I jumped in the air while still slowing down. The physios told me to calm it down else I’d injure myself,’ said Gemili, whose previous personal best was 10.23sec.

‘So I was a bit calmer after the .08 but it was still the best feeling in the world. It feels really good to have run the A standard but more so to be a junior and have done the time.

‘It shows other juniors what can be done and not to think only seniors can do it. They can compete at that level, too.’

Gemili, who was born in London of Moroccan-Iranian descent, played on loan last season for Blue Square Bet South side Thurrock. The former Dartford Grammar School pupil was at Chelsea for seven years from the age of eight and said last year that football would always come first but now he is less sure. ‘This year may decide,’ he said.

Decisions, decisions: Gemili (right) also has hopes of pursuing a football career

Decisions, decisions: Gemili (right) also has hopes of pursuing a football career

His aim for the summer was the world junior championships in Barcelona. He tops the world rankings for that after his Regensburg runs but having achieved the Olympic qualifying standard twice he has only to finish in the first two at the trials in three weeks to win a place in London.

Chambers, Marlon Devonish and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, Britain’s trio in last year’s world championships, have all failed so far to achieve the standard. Chambers takes another run at it in the Paris suburb of Montreuil on Tuesday.

Gemili later anchored to victory a British relay team that featured Christian Malcolm, 15 years his senior. Malcolm celebrated Sunday’s 33rd birthday a day early when he won the 200m in a selection qualifying time of 20.46sec, while Anyika Onoura became the first of Britain’s specialist women sprinters to qualify in the 200m with a time of 22.93sec that equalled her career best.

To put Gemili’s achievement into context, just 10 days ago he tweeted: ‘Hope in the end all of this is worth it because right now I’m feeling a bit lonely.’

The weekend’s outstanding British performance belonged to Olympic gold medal contender Mo Farah. He ran the year’s fastest 5,000 metres in 12min 56.99sec in the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene. As significant was victory by a margin of five seconds over fourth-placed Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the Olympic champion and world record holder.

Brit special: Mo Farah set the fastest 5,000m time in the world this year

Brit special: Mo Farah set the fastest 5,000m time in the world this year

‘He’s a great athlete; we should never doubt him,’ said a respectful Farah, last year’s world champion.

But Farah’s last lap in only 56.2sec was too much for his rivals, Isiah Kiplangat Koech, training partner Galen Rupp and Bekele who finished in that order behind him.

‘I think Mo is the best distance runner in the world right now,’ said his American coach Alberto Salazar.

At the same Diamond League meeting Shara Proctor, the long jumper forced to bid for British selection by Olympic rules that deny recognition to her British Dependent Territory island of Anguilla, beat both world champion Britney Reese and Olympic champion Maurren Higa Maggi with a jump of 6.84m. Two more jumps of 6.75m and 6.74m were also beyond anything the two champions could achieve.

‘With that being only my second competition, I’m looking to go further his summer. I feel like I’ve got a lot more to come,’ said Proctor, who comes to Europe to compete in Oslo on Thursday.

Less pleased with the Eugene meeting was European triple jump champion Phillips Idowu. He injured himself on his third attempt and retired, finishing third in a competition won by world champion Christian Taylor.

One British record did fall as US-based Barbara Parker reduced the 3,000m steeplechase record set by Helen Clitheroe at the 2008 Olympic Games by almost five seconds in 9min 24.24sec.

Euro 2012: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain excited about England

Two years ago I was watching England in the pub… now I can be a Euro star

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UPDATED:

23:06 GMT, 3 June 2012

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was back home on the coast last week, enjoying the sea air, when he suffered a World Cup flashback which demanded a pause for thought.

‘I went home to see my friends in Southsea,’ he explained. ‘We drove past the pub where we watched the England-Germany game when Frank Lampard scored the goal which was disallowed.

‘I was sat there with my best friend and he said: ‘‘It’s unbelievable. Two years ago, we were in there watching it and now it’s the next tournament and you’re there with all the boys”. This puts it into perspective.

Burst of pace: Alex Oxlade Chamberlain impressed against Belgium

Burst of pace: Alex Oxlade Chamberlain impressed against Belgium

Euro 2012 email button

‘It’s been an amazing journey; a whirlwind.’

Last summer, Oxlade-Chamberlain was in demand among Barclays Premier League clubs having broken into Southampton’s first team with a supporting role in the Saints’ promotion from League One.

As he unwound in Portugal at the end of the season, and a 15million transfer to Arsenal began to unfold, he discovered strangers were starting to recognise him.

Little more than a year on, he is still only 18 but has played in the Champions League, and a holiday in Spain had to be cancelled to make way for his England debut in Norway and his first international start against Belgium at Wembley on Saturday.

‘I remember playing in games for Southampton like Dagenham and Redbridge away on a cold Tuesday night and I’m grateful for these experiences,’ said Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Well played, son: Roy Hodgson congratulates Oxlade-Chamberlain

Well played, son: Roy Hodgson congratulates Oxlade-Chamberlain

‘You have to work in those environments and it makes you strive to want to play in places like Wembley for your country. I want to work hard and make my future bright.’

Roy Hodgson hailed him as a ‘precocious talent’ when he first selected Oxlade-Chamberlain for the Euro 2012 squad and has shown faith in him since. In Oslo, Hodgson sent the teenager on to play as a second striker, behind Andy Carroll. His first touch in an England shirt was exquisite, caressing a long pass on the volley with the inside of his right foot into the path of Theo Walcott.

His second touch was less impressive, screwing a shot wildly off target after Walcott had returned the ball to his Arsenal team-mate with a low cross.

It was a similar pattern at Wembley on Saturday. There were shades of Paul Gascoigne when he squeezed through an improbable gap between Axel Witsel and Marouane Fellaini with an explosive burst of speed.

Ouch! Oxlade-Chamberlain battles with Kevin Mirallas and Moussa Dembele

Ouch! Oxlade-Chamberlain battles with Kevin Mirallas and Moussa Dembele

There was also a well-hit effort that flashed narrowly wide, followed by a slip and an ugly finish when James Milner created a good chance for him but his presence on the pitch lessens the predictability of Hodgson’s team.

When the young Gunner emerged from the England dressing room, however, he was composed and assured; not fazed by the experience. His confidence is striking and there is a fierce competitive edge, perhaps inherited from his father Mark Chamberlain who won eight England caps.

Hampshire wanted Alex to play cricket and London Irish were keen for him to adopt rugby union, but he was always set on football and is determined to contribute in Ukraine.

‘It is a start in my England career, I guess, and hopefully the first of many,’ said Oxlade-Chamberlain. ‘It is nice to win as well. We played some good stuff at times and it was against a good Belgium team. I enjoyed every minute.

‘It was a bit of a shock when I was told I was starting, but I had to remember I was one of the players put in the initial squad. I am here to do that and I have to be able to step up and perform when the manager wants me.

Now you see him: Oxlade-Chamberlain escapes from Marouane Fellaini

Now you see him: Oxlade-Chamberlain escapes from Marouane Fellaini

‘I was delighted to get the call and obviously very excited but this is football; this is what I do every day. I train and I play. It is about stepping up on the biggest occasions.

‘Playing in games for your country, you have to take it in your stride, and I think I did. I wanted to prove something. I showed glimpses of what I can do, but there’s a lot more to come from me.’

Despite the incredible rise from League One to Euro 2012, he is at ease in illustrious company. An 8-2 defeat at Manchester United on his Arsenal debut failed to rattle him, so two wins with England should be a breeze.

‘A few of the lads — Stevie G, Scott Parker, the experienced boys — had a word with me,’ he said. ‘They told me to go and enjoy it. When someone says that, you realise it’s a game of football.

‘I’ve been playing for a number of years with a professional club, and you are tuned to perform in moments like this. If you go out and relax, it comes to you.

Parting gift: England celebrate victory over Belgium at Wembley on Saturday

Parting gift: England celebrate victory over Belgium at Wembley on Saturday

‘If you don’t believe you should be there, you’ll struggle. At first it’s daunting to see and train with players who were my heroes, but you soon realise they’re human beings, here to do a job.’

So is Oxlade-Chamberlain. ‘I definitely feel I can make an impact on the tournament,’ he said. ‘If you don’t think that, you won’t go far. You have to believe in yourself. If you don’t, no one else will.

‘You have to believe the manager has faith in your ability, and I believe in myself. One step at a time. I keep learning every day in training, as I am with great players. If I get a chance again, I will do everything I can to impress.’

That game in Dagenham was in January 2011, played before 3,585. After his impact on England, his next appearance may well be in Donetsk, against France, with the eyes of the world on him.

London Olympics 2012: Adam Gemili amazed by sprint time

It was amazing, says teenage whiz Gemili after sprinting into Olympic contention

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UPDATED:

16:20 GMT, 3 June 2012

Adam Gemili admitted he struggled to contain his excitement after his stunning breakthrough run of 10.08 seconds lifted him to the top of the British rankings.

On the up: Adam Gemili came second in the Inter Boys 100m in 2010. Now he's on the verge of an Olympic place.

On the up: Adam Gemili came second in the Inter Boys 100m in 2010. Now he's on the verge of an Olympic place.

Eighteen-year-old sprinter Gemili,
a promising footballer who was a member of the Dagenham and Redbridge
Academy squad last season, achieved the Olympic A standard twice at the
Sparkassen Gala in Regensburg, Germany, on Saturday, running 10.11secs
in the heats before going even quicker to win the final.

The time is significantly quicker
than his more established countrymen like Dwain Chambers have gone this
season and is the second fastest by a European athlete this year, behind
only France's Christophe Lemaitre.

'When I crossed the line in 10.08 it was the most amazing feeling in the world,' the Blackheath and Bromley athlete said.

'When I ran my heat and saw I'd ran
10.11 I jumped into the air whilst I was still slowing down. The physios
told me to calm it down else I'd end up injuring myself.

'So I was a bit calmer after the .08 but it was still the best feeling ever.'

The Londoner, who smashed his previous personal best of 10.23s, also became the second fastest British junior of all time.

His time lifted him above Mark
Lewis-Francis, a former world junior champion, on the Great Britain
junior all-time list, with only Chambers' 10.06 set back in 1997 ahead
of him.

Gemili trains under Michael Afilaka,
who also coaches former world indoor silver medallist and 2008 Olympic
finalist Jeanette Kwakye.

'Training with Michael and his group, I've learned so much from him and the whole group are brilliant,' he said.

'Jeanette Kwakye is brilliant as a
training partner but also as a role model, having been to an Olympic
final and having a world medal. It's just been such an eye-opener.'

On the ball: Sprinter Gemili also plays for Dagenham & Redbridge

On the ball: Sprinter Gemili also plays for Dagenham & Redbridge

Gemili, who won silver at last year's
European Junior Championships in Estonia, is the second Briton to
achieve the A standard of 10.18 this year after James Dasaolu, meaning
the likes of Chambers could have their work cut out to make the team.

Dasaolu, 24, ran exactly 10.18 in France last month.

Gemili added: 'It feels really good to have run the A standard, but more so to be a junior and have done the time.

'I hope it shows other juniors what
can be done and not just to think only seniors can do that, they can
compete at that level too.'

London Olympics 2012: Look out Bolt! Adam Gemili sprints into Olympic contention with personal best in Germany

Look out Bolt! Gemili sprints into Olympic contention with personal best in Germany

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UPDATED:

17:01 GMT, 2 June 2012

Eighteen-year-old Adam Gemili ran the
second fastest time by a European athlete this year, and the second best by a British junior in history, by clocking an
Olympic A standard 10.08 seconds to win the 100 metres at a meeting in
Regensburg.

Gemili achieved the A standard twice
at the Sparkassen Gala in Germany, running 10.11secs in the heats, but
his clocking to win the final, with the tailwind of 0.8 m/s well within
the legal limits, was mightily impressive.

On the up: Adam Gemili came second in the Inter Boys 100m in 2010. Now he's on the verge of an Olympic place.

On the up: Adam Gemili came second in the Inter Boys 100m in 2010. Now he's on the verge of an Olympic place.

The Londoner smashed his previous personal best of 10.23 to become the second fastest British junior of all time.

His time lifted him above Mark Lewis
Francis, a former world junior champion, on the Great Britain junior
all-time list, with only Dwain Chambers' 10.06 set back in 1997 ahead of
him.

And France's Christophe Lemaitre is the only European to have gone faster than the Blackheath and Bromley athlete this season.

Gemili,
who won silver at last year's European Junior Championships in Estonia,
is the second Briton to achieve the A standard of 10.18 this year after
James Dasaolu, meaning the likes of Chambers could have their work cut
out to make the team.

Dasaolu, 24, ran exactly 10.18 in France last month.

Gemili is also a promising footballer, having been a member of the Dagenham and Redbridge Academy squad last season and played on loan at non-league Thurrock.