Former UEL student, Adam Gemili said he was ‘trying to run with one leg’ when forced to compete at British trials for a place in the world championships team.
The three-times European gold medallist missed out on Olympic bronze at Rio last summer by three thousandths of a second. However, struggling with a hamstring injury after competing at the world relay championships in the Bahamas in April, Gemili wasn’t able to impress selectors at British Trails.
Gemili will still compete as part of the 100m relay squad. Speaking to the Guardian at a preparation camp on the outskirts of Paris, he struggled to conceal his frustration at what he hinted was double standards on the part of 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.”
Gemili 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 was trying to run with one leg
“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.”
Zharnel Hughes, who finished fourth at the trials and was given the wildcard spot will join 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.”