Cowan admits Gemili still has long way to go to reach top

News Shopper: Lloyd Cowan. SPORTSBEAT. Lloyd Cowan. SPORTSBEAT.

By Chris Bailey

DARTFORD’S Adam Gemili wrote his name into the history books this year but British Athletics’ lead sprints coach Lloyd Cowan admits there is still a long way to go if he is to turn promise into medals.

Since bursting on to the scene in the run up to London 2012, Gemili has long been carrying the weight of a nation’s sprinting hopes on his shoulders.

And this summer, while still a teenager, Gemili raised the bar even higher as reached the 200m final at the world athletics championships in Moscow.

En route to finishing fifth in his first major final, Gemili became only the second Briton to dip under 20 seconds by qualifying second-fastest for the showpiece in 19.98s, the fastest ever European teenager to do so.

But while admitting there is plenty of reason to get excited about the leaps Blackheath & Bromley Harriers star Gemili has made this year, Cowan doesn’t want anyone getting too excited until the Dartford sensation gets some consistency going.

“I think Adam’s coach, Steve Fudge, and his team learned this year from things they did earlier in the season,” Cowan said, speaking at the 2013 UK Sport coach awards supported by Gillette.

“They think it will be a great season next year and at the European championships Adam will be a favourite I’m sure.

“At the Commonwealth Games I think it will be different because the Jamaicans can put out a B-string and they’d still be good enough to get a winning time.

“But I think Adam will grow from his experiences, but we need to have some consistency in performances at championship level.

“Not what I call at our trials, because it’s all about championships at the end of the day.

“If you’ve won here in Britain for the last three years, you need to start setting your sights a bit further afield and learning what it takes to win a medal at a championships.”

Having already tasted the Olympic atmosphere at London 2012, where he reached the semi-finals, Gemili, now aged 20, will be eager to get in on the act again at the 2016 Games in Rio.

But Cowan insists there is still plenty of work to be done if Britain are to become a force to be reckoned with in sprinting circles in Brazil.

“We’re in a good state but we’ve got to be real, we haven’t got any kids running 9.6s,” he added.

“So in reality until we find a kid who can run a 9.7, we’re just in a good state,” he added.

“We’ve got James Dasaolu who ran 9.92s in the trials and 9.98s in the world championships and we’ve got Adam Gemili who ran 19.98s at the world championships in the 200m, but they’re still development athletes at this stage.

“I’m more looking at Rio and also Tokyo for those guys to be established and that’s we’ve got to look forward to.

“Right now, while the Usain Bolts are around, the Yohan Blakes are around, I’m sorry, I’ve got to be real as a coach – it’s going to be a hard job to tackle those guys.

“They’re running the sort of times our guys may be capable of in three years’ time.”

The 2013 Gillette Great Starts’ campaign celebrates community coaches and inspires the next generation of coaches by providing them with grants to fund their next level qualifications.

Applications for coaching grants available through the scheme will reopen in 2014.

For more information, visit facebook.com.GilletteUK

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