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Adam Gemili has one ambition in mind – rediscovering the smile that was his trademark.
It was that cheeky grin that endeared him to so many when he came out of nowhere to qualify for the London Olympics as a teenager in the same year he committed to athletics for good after playing football professionally.
A decade on, Gemili is a veteran of the athletics scene and is in the middle of the toughest year of his career.
Physically Gemili believes he is in good shape, but the mental toll was evident as he crashed out in the semi-finals of the 200m, running 20.97, exactly a second slower than his personal best.
Gemili will remain in Birmingham and run in the 4x100m relay if required, but admits he needs to find happiness again to get his career back on track.
He said: “I know there have been issues with me this year, it has affected me. Physically I’m OK but there has been a lot which has affected my training and the mental side for me.
“That’s something which has been new this season and I’ve really struggled to get that right. I didn’t know how much of a difference it does really make. It’s for me to come home and find some happiness again.
“Starting by spending a lot more time at home. Moving home. I’ve been away from home since I was 19 years old when I moved away. I am 28 now and I haven’t spent a lot of time with people around me. Maybe one or two months a year.
“Start with surrounding myself with people I love and who love me. Hopefully that happiness does come, and you see the old Adam bounding down the track next season. Fingers crossed.”
While Gemili’s competition came to a premature end, Zharnel Hughes looks primed for gold, cruising through his heat in 20.32 seconds despite easing off the gas with 50 metres to go.
He will be the overwhelming favourite in the final, but was disqualified in this event four years ago as well as in last year’s Olympic 100m final – and knows he has to make sure his head is right for the final.
He said: “I need to allow myself to not get caught up in my thoughts and trust myself, listen to my coach and trust my team back there and I’ll be fine.”
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