IAN LAMONT reports on the latest Croydon sportsman to make some international impact
A mixture of excitement and relief accompanies James Dasaolu to Gothenburg, where he is representing Great Britain in the European indoor championships which start today.
The Croydon Harrier has had a series of interruptions through injuries as he has tried to establish himself as an international. Until this season, the 25-year-old sprinter had not run 60-metre races or enjoyed any sort of indoor season since 2009.
Now, having represented Great Britain in the Olympic Games in London, he aims to better that “breakthrough year” in 2009, when he set his 100m personal best of 10.09 seconds by using the Gothenburg experience as a springboard.
A change of coach a year ago to Steve Fudge’s guidance at Loughborough, after a third injury-plagued winter running, seems to have changed Dasaolu’s fortunes. “I believe the programme to be working,” Dasaolu said. “This is first full winter working with Steve and I am very excited about the summer. Things seem to be going well.
“This is the first time in a long time I’ve been fit at this time of year. I am enjoying things.
“My coach and parents have always reassured that I was good enough, despite many setbacks due to injury. I have struggled since 2009 to put together a proper season without injury.
“Making the Olympic team I guess you could say was me showing my re-emergence after having to sit out the whole of the previous season.”
Indoor championships are rarely the main focus for an athlete, the three-day championships will provide important building blocks and a chance to focus on improvement, he believes.
“For where I am in my career and training, I believe it is important for me to work on first half of my race. Running indoors provides me with a chance to do this,” Dasaolu said.
It has worked so far. He won the national indoor trials in a lifetime best 6.58sec, beating his previous best from 2009, ranking him 12th in Britain’s all-time list, one behind Sutton’s Harry Aikines-Ayreetey. Both are in the British team this weekend.
“The ultimate focus is always outdoors,” Dasaolu said. “I’m always proud to represent my country, whether it be indoors or outdoors. The grand plan is to run the 100m and relay in Moscow at the outdoor world championships in August and also improve on my PB this season.”
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