Adam Gemili is Team GB’s young hopeful in the men’s 100 metres at the London Olympics, but things could have been very different for the 18-year-old.
Gemili is a former schoolboy with the Chelsea Academy, but was released as an Under 15, and after spells in the Football League now has his heart set on gold in Stratford.
Academy assistant manager Jim Fraser remembers a dedicated and hard-working youngster.
‘Adam was a Kent boy and came to us at Under 8. He was obviously always very, very quick, and played right-back or centre-back,’ Fraser said. ‘When it came to offering a scholarship we weren’t quite able to do that for him, but he was always a very good, honest, hard-working and tenacious boy with a positive attitude.
‘When he left us we tried to help him find another club. He went to Reading where it didn’t work out and then on to Dagenham & Redbridge.
‘Then we heard he was starting up athletics and we’ve watched him develop into the talent he is today. We’re obviously very proud that he’s gone on and created another fantastic career for himself, and we all wish him well in the Olympics this summer.’
The 100 metres heats begin today in the Olympic Stadium, and hopes are high for Gemili, who won the World Junior Championships last month in a time of 10.05 seconds.