The Londoner is the second-fastest Briton ever over 200m.
ADAM Gemili has illustrated he is already a world class athlete, but keeping a strong team around him is imperative if he is to medal at major championships according to Olympic gold medallist Jason Gardener.
The Londoner enjoyed a largely successful last season, breaking the 20-second barrier in the 200m to become the second-fastest Briton ever over that distance during the World Championships in Moscow, before narrowly missing out on a medal with a fifth-placed finish.
He also won gold in the same event at the European Under-23 Championships.
All this came after he roared onto the scene at the London 2012 Olympic Games, when his performance in the 100m caught the eye.
As someone who knows about success on the biggest stage, Gardener knows potential when he sees it. The 2004 Athens Games was Gardener’s own shining moment as he joined Mark Lewis-Francis, Darren Campbell and Marlon Devonish to claim 4x100m gold.
And he is backing 19-year-old Gemili to one day follow him as an Olympic gold medallist – though he is urging him to take it step by step.
“Adam Gemili has had a fantastic couple of years,” said Gardener, who was speaking in his role as Youth Sport Trust ambassador at Sainsbury’s 2013 School Games.
“He is relatively new to the sport of track and field athletics, and such a young talent with an exciting future.
“This year in particular, breaking the 20-second barrier for running 200m – that is truly, truly world class. I think he has a very bright future ahead of him.
“Part of his development is going to be how his talent is nurtured to take him onto the rostrum at major championships such as the Olympic Games and the World Championships.
“I think Adam and his team will be sensible and they have just got to keep on improving year in, year out. When they get that opportunity to shock the world hopefully they will be able to do so.
“Maybe 2016 will be that moment, but he will still be very much in his early twenties. We will just have to watch and see – that is what makes sport great.”
A relative newcomer into sprinting after starting out in football, Gemili had been on the books of League Two side Dagenham & Redbridge and enjoyed a loan spell in non-league with Thurrock.
But having turned his attention to athletics, it was in the 100m he initially excelled. However, Gardener has been most impressed by Gemili’s 200m performances.
“I think a lot of people would label him as a 100m runner because that is where he made his name last year,” said Gardener.
“But his time in the 200m has by far outclassed his 100m performance. I think what he demonstrates is he has got the opportunity to excel at both and I think when you look at the very best in the world, that being Usain Bolt, he does it over both events and I think many athletes now when they become sprinters they need to mix it over both events.
“All eyes are on Adam at the moment, but what a wonderful position he is in.”
The Sainsbury’s 2013 School Games, which is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust, was held in venues across Sheffield from 12-15 September 2013. Visit www.2013schoolgames.com for more information.
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