Rio 2016: Mitchell-Blake, Gemili chase 200m final spots
PUBLISHED: 13:00 17 August 2016
PA/Press Association Images
Team GB sprinters eased through heats in Rio
Newham & Essex Beagles Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake will bid for a place in the final of the men’s 200m at the Rio Olympics tonight (Wednesday).
The 22-year-old finished second in his heat in 20.24seconds to qualify automatically for the semi-finals, despite a tricky draw in lane one.
And he admitted he was delighted to get through for another shot at glory on the track this evening.
He said: “Someone had to get it [lane one] and unfortunately it was me. At the end of the day, I am just grateful to make to the next round healthy and I am happy to have another opportunity.
“You have to run hard. It is the top two qualifiers that make it to the semi-finals of the Olympic Games. You can’t take it for granted here because everyone is on their A game.
“We have got the talent in GB as you see with three semi-finalists. We have got the support staff and National Lottery are putting a lot of money in and supporting us all the way so we have to deliver.”
Mitchell-Blake was joined in the semi-finals by University of East London graduate and Adam Gemili, who was second in his heat in 20.20, and Team GB Danny Tablot.
Former Dagenham & Redbridge footballer Gemili, 22, said: “It was alright – just to get the jitters out of the first one. it was a hard lane as well – a tough lane to run from but it was good.
“It was great to get out there and feel the track and experience the crowd. Now it feels like the Olympics because I’m actually competing now so it’s cool.
“I’m happy with it, I obviously wanted to win, that said lane two is a tough lane to run from so I just tried to take it as chilled as I can. I had a little glance over and saw [Nickel] Ashmeade [of Jamaica] was at the same level as me so I knew that we’d qualified well.”
Gemili reached the semi-finals of the 100m at the London 2012 Games when only 18, but has focused on the longer sprint in the years since, although he remains a part of the 4x100m relay squad.
He added: “I’ve been waiting in the village for a while so it’s good to finally get out there and compete myself. As captain, I’m not doing anything differently I’m just being me – that why Neil [Black, Team GB Team Leader] chose me.
“I’m just trying to support the team as I normally do and try and bring positive energy to everyone and I think I am doing that, the team’s doing really well and I like to think I have a part to play in that.”