• London Olympics 2012

Gemili not guaranteed to go to Games

ESPN staff
June 25, 2012

The coach of British sprint sensation Adam Gemili has reiterated that there is no guarantee his pupil will compete at London 2012 - despite securing his qualification spot over the weekend.

Having already achieved the Olympic 'A' standard for the 100 metres, Gemili finished second behind Dwain Chambers at the UK Trials & Championships in Birmingham on Sunday to confirm an automatic berth to this summer's Olympic Games - a meteoric rise after only taking up the sport full-time in recent months.

The Olympics - especially in front of a home crowd - would be the peak of a career for most athletes, but Gemili's coach Michael Afilaka remains concerned that premature exposure to the cutthroat world of senior athletics would do Gemili more long-term harm than good.

Gemili has until July 2 to decide whether or not he will run at the Olympics. He is currently due to run at the World Junior Championships, which begin on July 10.

"If you throw him into the cauldron of Olympics and he gets burned then he might never recover," said Afilaka. "I'm very clear what that competition is and it's brutal - from getting kitted out to walking into the Olympic Stadium. I've been there, seen it, trust me. He's not just a young kid, he's young to athletics. I'm not saying no, but it really has to be a day-by-day decision."

He added: "Eleven months ago the aim for Adam was to make the relay six for the [world] junior team and he was not good enough to do that. Eleven months later we are having an argument about whether he should go to the Olympics.

"The key is that we have to remember this is a young kid and everybody is getting carried away. It's not the world juniors versus the Olympics. It's always been the juniors, and the Olympics is just a bonus. We have to be sensible. We don't want to deviate from the plan."

Afilaka, who claimed he had the support of UK Athletics chief Charles van Commenee in whatever decision he makes, would only say that the odds are currently "51-49" in favour of Gemili attending.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.