Trackspeed1 sprinter James Ellington made the breakthrough of a lifetime yesterday (Sunday 31st July), as he blasted to second in the UK Championships and World Championship Trials 200 metres final, in the Alexander Stadium, Birmingham. His performance guaranteed him selection to the World Championships, in Daegu, South Korea, later this month.
|James Ellington collects his silver medal in Birmingham. |
His previous best finish in a UK Championships is sixth
For both athlete and coach, John Powell, who first hooked up when the now 25-year-old Newham and Essex Beagle was just 13, it was a hugely emotional performance, which realised a dream held for years.
Ellington clocked 20.91 behind race winner Christian Malcolm, but times were always going to be of no importance, as both athletes had already achieved the Daegu qualifying time, and had only to clinch gold or silver to comply with the selection criteria laid down by UK Athletics.
"Make no mistake," said an absolutely euphoric John Powell afterwards, " this achievement is absolutely massive. James has had no lottery funding, no sponsorship, no kit deal, nothing. He has achieved this through the adversity of a potentially career-terminating hamstring injury last year, and sheer hard graft.
"Words could never describe just how proud I feel at this very moment. I've watched James grow up, develop as an outstanding junior, become a father last year, and now he's off to rub shoulders with literally the best the world has to offer. Fantastic!"
It's the best year in Trackspeed1 history since the golden year of 2003, when Chris Lambert landed gold in the European under-23 200m final and 4x100m relay, and gold in the World Student Games 100m - the latter of which were held in Daegu!
"I'll be going back to Daegu with fond memories of Chris and his gold medal there," said John. "I really am having to pinch myself that this has happened. I never wavered in my belief in James's ability, but you never really dare even think anything until the athlete has crossed the line. I have never reacted at a race finish before as I did in Birmingham, and I guess that reflected just how much the whole deal meant. I leapt out of my seat screaming - on reflection it's actually quite embarrassing!"
James will now have to prepare for the trip of his life. He leaves with the British team on Sunday 14th August to travel to Ulsan, 65 miles from Daegu, where the British holding camp is located pre-games. He will transfer to Daegu on 24th, and compete in the first round of the 200 metres on 29th. And Ellington could even come back as a medallist if the 4x100m relay team live up to expectations - he has already established himself as a huge asset on the home bend in internationals earlier this year.
John Powell has yet to settle his travel plans, but is likely to be near the front of the queue to speak to his bank manager this week!
"I've remortgaged my house three times already so I can support my athletes in major championships," he explained, "the last time was last year when I went with David Bolarinwa to the World Youth Olympics in Singapore. It costs a bomb and coaches get nothing. I'll be in Daegu come hell or high water, but it's going to be the economy trip!
The records will show that James's final in Birmingham was run into a -1.7m/s headwind which, if reversed, would have added a very healthy time indeed to a nevertheless outstanding performance. Clearly in shape, the biggest highlight of his season may not yet have arrived!
|Coach John Powell & protegee James Ellington are on the plane to Korea!|