Friday, 26 August 2011


The entrance to the athletes' village in Daegu.  204 countries have
converged on the South Korean venue to contest the 13th World
Athletics Championships

James Ellington has arrive with the first contingent of the British team in the athletes' village in Daegu, just seven days away now from his baptism in the World 200 metres Championship.

From the comparative peace and tranquility of the Ulsan holding camp some 70 miles away, this will have made it real for the 25-year-old south Londoner, with the full bustling environment of an Olympic Games created here with the best athletes on earth all converging on one venue.

It's still business as usual though, with a track session under the supervision of coach John Powell this morning (around 2am UK time!) which James found a punishing experience in rapidly increasing heat and humidity.

"James is in fantastic shape," said John, " but he found today's workout a tough test - as indeed he should.  Running three bends of 120m is a tough ask, let alone in 12.19, 12.18 and 12.31 seconds!  I don't normally publish training times, but anyone with knowledge of track sprinting will know that is seriously moving!

"James is very confident at the moment and long may that continue.  He's in the form of his life and he knows it."

This said, while the athlete is enjoying the excitement and buzz of the village, John's trip has been less than spectacular:

"It's no criticism of UK Athletics at all, but the system reall does fail a personal coach.  UKA have rightly prioritised their allocation of access passes, but I have had to beg for 3 day passes to see James in the village over the next week.  I won't get close to him for warm-up, let alone the race.  I don't even have tickets to watch as a spectator yet!

"It's a scandal that 13 years of building an athlete into a world class sportsman is rewarded with a huge overdraft at the bank to actually get here, and then no access to your athlete.  I'm far from the only one, but it really does leave a very sour taste in the mouth - you're treated almost like a second class citizen.  You don't get so much as a tee-shirt for guiding your athlete to the world's elite.

"It was the same last year with David Bolarinwa at the World Youth Olympics in Singapore: I remortgaged my house to get out there, and then got no accreditation at all - simply spectators' tickets!  The sport badly needs a re-think on a global scale."

James runs in his heat of the 200m on Friday next week (2nd September) in the dead of night at 3.10am UK time (11.10am local) and, if he qualifies for the semi-final, will run again at 7.55pm local, or 11.55am UK.
James and coach John Powell talk about plans for the week to come!

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