One of the avid followers of my blog pointed out to me 32 days ago that it had been 32 days since my last Making of Champions update! Now that it’s been 2 months or so since my last update, here is our latest clip about British sprinter James Dasaolu breaking the 10 second barrier some 10 days ago in Birmingham, England, at the British National Championships…
As you can see from the clip, we had the opportunity to meet James at the IAAF Diamond League, also in Birmingham at the end of June, and even then, it was clear to me that it was only a matter of time before he would break 10 seconds – very pleased for him that he’s done it now, and that run can only be a stepping stone for him to go on to start winning medals for Great Britain on the global stage in the very near future. Dasaolu’s emergence as only the 4th British man in history to break 10 seconds should serve as reminder to all Nigerians what talents we undoubtedly have back home that are wasting away because we are not discovering and nurturing them – after all, 8 Nigerians in history have run sub-10, but none in the last 7 years! Let’s not forget that probably half of Team GB’s Track & Field athletes are of Nigerian origin!
Given the recent big-name withdrawals from the upcoming World Championships in Moscow in 3 weeks – Yohan Blake due to injury, Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell due to failed drugs tests – Dasaolu will be feeling confident about making the 100m final, and will know that he has an outside chance of getting a medal. He’d be delighted with a medal but he would have to become a consistent sub-10 runner to be in the mix on a regular basis. In particular, it remains to be seen if he can put two sub-10 runs together within hours of each other, these days a necessary feat to get into the final and medal at the World Championships or Olympics…The London Anniversary Games will provide a first clue as to how close Dasaolu can get to Bolt in Moscow, when he lines up against the big man himself tomorrow (Friday July 26th) for the first time since the London Olympics…
If I were to predict how the medals would fall in Moscow, I’d go with Usain Bolt, Justin Gatlin and Nesta Carter as 1-2-3. Anyone else who gets to the final really does have an outside chance of getting a medal, so that will be Dasaolu’s primary goal. But he’ll also have France’s Jimmy Vicaut, Jamaica’s Kemar Bailey-Cole and Nickel Ashmeade, and USA’s Mike Rodgers and Charles Silmon , all whom have also broken 10 seconds this season, to contend with. That Bailey-Cole and Ashmeade beat the more accomplished Nesta Carter into 4th place at the Jamaican trials in June is proof that anything can happen on the day!
Just a word about the recent failed drug tests in Athletics – we would have released this teaser sooner, had the news about the failed drugs tests of Gay, Powell and 4 other Jamaicans not broken the very day after Dasaolu’s great run. It is really sad to see some of our most beloved athletes failing drugs tests at the twilight of their careers. The news undoubtedly took some of the shine off of Dasaolu’s performance the day before, and means that any single outstanding performance will likely be questioned until the public’s trust in the sport is regained over time. I might be in a minority that prefers to wait for the full stories to unfold and they are proven guilty or innocent, before dismissing or accepting their claims that they did not knowingly take any banned substances.
As much as it is imperative that drug cheats are weeded out of Athletics for good (I support returning to 4-year bans, as 2-year bans simply not a strong enough deterrent), it is also important that the sport finds ways to reduce the possibility that athletes can unwittingly ingest banned substances – some have suggested that instead of just having a banned substance list, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) could create an approved substance list. This way, athletes who stay within the approved list will know that there should be zero risk of taking anything that is banned. In this scenario, there would then really be no excuse for failing a drug’s test…short of outright sabotage perhaps…?