‘I want to do my country proud’: Team GB’s CJ Ujah has eyes on Rio 2016 final

This is the year to turn potential into prizes, according to Enfield sprint sensation CJ Ujah.

On Wednesday the Enfield and Haringey AC sprinter was awarded the third discretionary spot in the Team GB squad for the 100m in next month’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and is determined to make the most of the opportunity.

Ujah needed the selectors’ approval after failing to make the top two at the Olympic trials earlier this month, but with three qualifying standards already run this year, the selectors had little hesitation in naming Ujah alongside James Dasaolu and James Ellington on the plane to Rio.

Now, with a first Olympic Games rapidly approaching on the horizon, Ujah has set his sights firmly on the final in Brazil.

“Top six in the final would be success for me. Time is all well and good, but positions matter in the championships,” said the 22-year-old.

“This is the year for me to be pushing on to making finals. If I can get to a final then anything is possible.

“I know the magic number to make the final, but I am going to keep that to myself. I’m confident I can produce it on the day, though.

“I wouldn’t want to be selected if I didn’t feel I could do it. I want to do my country proud and make the final.”

Should the British Athletics selectors have needed any more convincing of Ujah’s talent, he gave them a timely reminder on Sunday by anchoring the Great Britain team to gold in the 4x100m at the European Championships, in Amsterdam.

With a first senior medal now under his belt, Ujah is focussed on success in Rio and will not let outside distractions alter his path to Olympic glory.

“I’m going to talk to my mentor, Darren Campbell, so hopefully he can give me some good advice,” he added.

“He has been very successful at the Olympic Games so I’ll listen to what he has got to say and what my coach has got to say, but I don’t need too many people in my ear before I compete.”

Ujah’s season began in May with a 10.17s run in the final of the BUCS Championships, to claim the title and set a new championship record.

More than 60% of gold medallists since 1992 have participated in BUCS sport, with 56 members of Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics competing for Great Britain at the World University Games.

And while the Middlesex University student is dreaming of adding to that percentage in Rio, he credited the championships with setting him on the right track this season.

“BUCS was the first race of the season for me and I sat down with my uni, told them that this is what I wanted to do, to open up my season there and do it for them,” said the reigning 100m champion.

“It was a great help for me this year and it’s great to be able to represent something more than just yourself, like it is on the international stage.”

British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, representing more than 150 institutions. Covering 52 sports, BUCS aids grass roots participation through to supporting aspiring elite athletes en route to Commonwealth or Olympic Games

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