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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.
Between the World Championships in Oregon and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Gemili split with American coach Rana Reider, who is under investigation for multiple claims of sexual misconduct.
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.
The former Dartford College student 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.”
This summer, Team England, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, comprises of over 400 athletes, all vying for medal success.
Tonbridge’s Harry Kendall said riding the wave of an amazing Alexander Stadium crowd meant more than winning a medal after finishing sixth in the decathlon with 7,480 points.
Kendall dislocated his ankle six weeks ago but has made a miraculous recovery to compete across ten disciplines in Birmingham while missing two ligaments.
He only got out of his moon boot three-and-a-half weeks ago but Kendall managed to set a new personal best of 59.90m in the javelin in an outstanding show of bravery.
“It wasn’t the score I was hoping for but I had the worst possible prep,” said Kendall.
“But I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t think I was in shape to do a good score and it’s my second best score ever.
“The crowd and the experience have been worth more than a medal to me to be honest. Now I just want to keep coming back and competing with hopefully medals in the future.
“If it wasn’t for the crowd, I don’t think I’d have finished. Mentally it has been the toughest few months of my life.
“Anyone who doesn’t take advantage of the crowd in a home country’s vest is an absolute idiot as that will put ten percent on whatever you are doing.”
National Lottery players raise more than £30million a week for good causes including vital funding into sport – from grassroots to elite. Find out how your numbers make amazing happen at: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtag: #TNLAthletes.