Friday, 3 August 2012

On your marks.

Athletics is the perfect expression of the Olympic motto ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’– the competition requires athletes to run faster, throw further, jump higher and leap longer than their rivals. With 2,000 athletes competing in 47 events, Athletics is the largest single sport at the Games. With less than 24 hours to the first event- the men's shot put qualification rounds- which countries and athletes will prove stronger than the rest?
From a GB medal prospective, a lot can be taken from athletes performances from the warm up meets to London. Over the past month a variety of athletic competitions and trials have taken place such as the London Grand Prix, Helsinki European Athletics Championships and Birmingham Olympic trials. These were either an opportunity for athletes to secure a solid confidence building performance before the greatest show on earth but also simply for qualification into the Games. 
Mo Farah showed pure class in his 5000m race retaining his European Championship title in Helsinki. The Brit who pulled out of the 1500m final at the Birmingham Olympic trials the week before was criticised as being disrespectful to his fellow competitors but it looks as though his pick of the races paid off. As one of our greatest medal hopes, can he step up and perform in London? 
Another gold medal contender Jessica Ennis, labelled the "Golden Girl" of Team GB is entering the Games with the hopes of the nation on her shoulders of becoming Olympic heptathlon champion. This year she broke the British heptathlon record set by Denise Lewis 12 years ago and recently performed personal bests in her weaker events. If all goes to plan and the long jump and javelin cause her no grief there should be no stopping her.  
Looking at the younger and less experienced members of the team, the 800m Scottish athlete Lynsey Sharp has earned her place with personal best performances winning the Birmingham trials and gaining a silver medal in the final in Helsinki.  Another young Scot Eilish McColgan , has battled back from an horrendous foot injury to show courage and determination to qualify as one of two females representing GB in the 3000m steeplechase. It is fair to say these athletes are far from favourites for medals but if they are able to reach finals who knows what could happen as anyone knows it's who performs on the day. 
Lastly not forgetting the team captain, Welsh runner Dai Greene, hoping the home crowd will spur him on to overcoming his biggest rival Javier Culson in the 400m hurdles. Greene has already proven himself on the main stage winning the World Champs last year and previously the European Championships and Commonwealth Games - now its his time to step up and lead by example in London!
Mentioned here are only a select few of the 80 plus strong GB athletics team not to forget our only track and field reigning champion Christine Ohuruogo going in the 400m to retain her title. With so much pressure put on the host nations medal tally, this Sunday evening will be a pleasant change to sit back and potentially witness the fastest 100m ever run by a human being. Jamaica? Blake, Bolt, Bolt, Blake...or will the U S of A ruin the Caribbean party? 

Tune in to BBC Sunday 5th August 21.50 to find out!

As for now, let's go track and field team GB!

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