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Gemili strikes Gold

Adam Gemili strikes Barcelona Gold

Adam Gemili strikes Barcelona Gold

An inspired performance by Adam Gemili (coach: Micheal Afilaka) brought the Aviva Great Britain & Northern Ireland team its first gold medal of the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona (10-15 July).

The Blackheath & Bromley athlete delivered a near-perfect race, getting quickly out of the blocks and powering through after the 50m mark to win in a record-crushing time of 10.05s. This performance represents a new PB for the 18-year-old, a new Championships Record and a new British Junior record, beating the previous mark of 10.06s set by Dwain Chambers 15 years ago.

Behind Gemili, the USA’s Aaron Ernest set a new PB to finish second in 10.17s, while Odean Skeen of Jamaica completed the podium with 10.28s, yet again a PB.

Chijindu Ujah (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo) improved on his PB for the second time in a day as he lowered his best performance time to 10.39s, finishing sixth in a very competitive final.

Earlier in the day, Gemili had won his semi-final in a time of 10.18s, giving a preview of what was to come, while Ujah had shaved 0.04 off his PB with a 10.40 run that had earned him the spot as the fastest non-automatic qualifier, guaranteeing the presence of two British athletes in the final.

Gemili’s performance, which betters his 10.08s ran earlier in the season in Regensburg, was hailed as “fantastic” by sprint legend Maurice Greene, who was trackside and interviewed the newly crowned World Champion after the race, the first of a long series of media requests.

“I want to thank my mum, my dad, my sister, my coach, my training group and the whole of the GB team, the support they have given me is amazing, especially in the last few days,” were Gemili’s first words after posing next to the scoreboard for the customary post-record photographs. “I could hear them all cheering for me on the start line, it really did help.”

“I just told myself to stay relaxed and stay focused. I am not going to lie, I was nervous before the race: it’s a World Junior final, it’s in this stadium in Barcelona, how can you not be nervous? But you need to use your nerves in a good way, try to use them to help you run and I did it.”

“This is a massive stepping stone for the Olympics. If I had only made the final, it would have been a great achievement, to win makes it huge.”

When asked if a sub-10 time is on the cards at the Olympic Games, World Champion Gemili replied: “I honestly do not know. I am feeling good and I am running well, I just feel there is a whole lot more to come.”

In the women’s final, 17-year-old Sophie Papps (Neil Dodson) – who progressd through from the semi finals as a fastest loser – put in a solid race to stop the clock at 11.54s. The time placed her sixth in a really fast final won by Anthonique Strachan of the Bahamas in a time of 11.20s, a new World Leading Performance, with Nimet Karakus of Turkey second in 11.36s.

There will surely be more chances for this young athlete athlete and the experience that the Windsor Slough, Eton & Hounslow athlete has gained at these Championships will be invaluable.

Rachel Johncock (Philip Oliver), however, bowed out at the semi-final stage after finishing fourth in her race with a time of 11.99s in a strong headwind.

“I am actually pleased with my race” said the North Wales athlete, who was competing in her first major international Championship. “I got out of the blocks well and ran a good 100m, which is all I could have asked from myself. It was just not fast enough to make the final.”

The third British finalist of the day, Elliot Safo (John Shepherd), opened up his long jump final with a good 7.51m that placed him in third after the first round of trials. However, a slightly stiff hamstring meant the Croydon athlete could not improve his distance and had to pull out of the competition after the fourth jump.

Still, his opening effort was enough to classify the youngster sixth in a competition won in style by Russia’s Sergey Morgunov, who truly was in a class of his own as he set a 8.09m top mark, more than 20cm better than second placed Andreas Trajkovski of Denmark.

The afternoon had started well as James Gladman (James Hillier) earned his pass for tomorrow’s 110m hurdles final. The Warrington athlete didn’t have the best of starts but recovered strongly to clock a time of 13.37s in a slight headwind.

“The second half of the race was great,” were Gladman’s first words after the race, in which he finished second to France’s Wilhem Belocian (13.30s). “I sat in the blocks a little bit and I had to do a good second part to catch up.”

“I am actually really pleased with the time (0.07s above his PB), especially considering my start; there is plenty more where that came from and I know I can be quicker in the final.”

With Emelia Gorecka (Mick Woods) electing to opt out of the 5000m final after her bronze medal-winning run in the 3000m last night, the day came to a close with a buzz pervading the Aviva GB & NI team. It has happened before where the first gold medal can provide inspiration to the athletes yet to compete, and with James Gladman running well and the 800m duo of Jessica Judd (Jeremy Freeman) and Emily Dudgeon (Stuart Hogg) looking inspired, this could be the start of a beautiful week.