• London Olympics 2012

Van Commenee dismisses Gemili concerns

ESPN staff
June 27, 2012

UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee has attempted to lighten the mood after doubts expressed by the coach of teenage sprinter Adam Gemili hinted at there being too much pressure on the 100m star.

Gemili booked his place in Team GB's sprint line-up by finishing second in the 100m at the UK trials in Birmingham over the weekend, as the excitement surrounding the young talent reached new heights.

Gemili's coach Michael Afilaka expressed his concerns over the 18-year-old's ability to cope with the pressure of handling an Olympics and, before that, a World Junior Championships in Barcelona, and said after the weekend's trials that Gemili was an "emotional wreck".

Afilaka also said he had the backing of Van Commenee with regards to a decision over whether Gemili would participate at London 2012, but the Dutchman has now issued some strong comments in which he implies that he may be at odds with Afilaka's opinion.

"It's not like I am sending my 12-year-old niece to fight al-Qaeda," Van Commenee was quoted as saying by the Times.

"I did not see an emotional wreck. I saw a happy young man who is very level-headed.

"A lot of people in athletics make it sound like they are living a hard life, as if they have to go to the coalmines of Azerbaijan every day. We are doing sport. Sometimes the athletes and coaches forget that.

"It's fun. I laugh my ass off."

Gemili confirmed earlier this week that he would run at both the World Junior Championships and the Olympics.

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