Adam Gemili claims he raced at trials with injury after selectors’ ultimatum

• Gemili omitted from 200m team for home world championships
• Sprinter had hamstring injury but says he ‘had to’ race at trials

Adam Gemili has revealed his frustration at being overlooked for a 200m spot on Great Britain’s world championship team and claims selectors effectively forced him to compete at the trials, risking aggravating an injury.

A three-times European gold medallist, Gemili missed out on Olympic bronze in Rio last summer by three thousandths of a second. However, a track record of raising his game for major championships was not enough to convince selectors who rejected his appeal.

Gemili, who is still part of the 100m relay squad, was clearly trying not to rock the boat at a preparation camp on the outskirts of Paris but he struggled to conceal his frustration at what he hinted was double standards on the part of the selectors, including the performance director, Neil Black.

“Over the years I put my trust in a lot of people and I stayed loyal to a lot of people,” Gemili said. “I’m realising now when I speak to a lot of older people in the sport they say how individual it is and how you have to look after yourself and I’m seeing that more and more. It makes you tough and I’ve learned a lot this year. I just need to have a bit more faith in what I believe and to be a lot more selfish.”

The 23-year-old had been struggling with a hamstring injury after competing at the world relay championships in the Bahamas in April. He begged to be given until the 24 July selection deadline to prove his fitness but an ultimatum meant he had to compete at the trials in Birmingham on 2 July, where he finished sixth.

“I didn’t want to race there but the powers that be said if I wanted to make the team then I had to,” Gemili said. “I was trying to run with one leg. I had a terrible race and I could have stopped, maybe I should have, but I was too proud to go out there and pull up. It was crazy to be at trials but then see other people weren’t there.

“If had my time again I wouldn’t go to trials. I probably would have run at the Anniversary Games after an extra week of training and a bit more rest, and it might have been a different story.”

Ultimately, Gemili was overlooked in favour of Zharnel Hughes, who finished fourth at the trials and was given the wildcard spot, joining Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Danny Talbot as the trio of individual 200m runners. Gemili claims he is now restored to full fitness and could have challenged for a medal.

“This is worse than tearing your hamstring, worse than missing out on an Olympic medal,” he said. “This is a lot harder to cope with mentally because I’m completely fit now and because I told them I would be, that’s annoying.

“It’s a home world champs and that doesn’t happen often. It’ll be tough to watch the 200 because I would’ve loved to compete but it’s going to be exciting because I believe we could get three Brits in a world championships final for the first time in a long time and they could all be challenging for podium or even gold, especially with Bolt only doing the 100m.”

Gemili, however, insisted any feelings of bitterness had been banished to focus on the relay. “Now, we have the opportunity to just to go and be part of this relay team and hopefully we win a medal. I believe we can challenge for gold. And then I’ll race after London over 200m and show people I can still run fast.”


Martha Kelner

The GuardianTramp

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