ATHLETICS: Heartbreak drives Danny to national title

Danny Talbot celebrates after winning the 200m in Birmingham today

Danny Talbot celebrates after winning the 200m in Birmingham today

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DANNY Talbot admitted the "heartbreak" of missing out on selection for last year's World Championships fired him to victory over Adam Gemili in the 200 metres at the Sainsbury's British Championships on Saturday - and then insisted he could beat him to the European title as well.

The 23-year-old finished strongly in the rain at Birmingham's Alexander Stadium to pip his friend and rival to the line in 20.42 seconds, sealing his place on the Great Britain team for the European Championships in Zurich in August.

The pair were room-mates at the London Olympics, but, while Gemili went on to make last year's World Championship 200m final in Moscow, running 19.98secs to get there, Talbot failed to make the squad.

"I definitely had a point to prove," the Hilperton athlete said.

"Last season, missing out on the World Championships was the most heart-breaking thing that's happened to me in the sport. Me and my coach (Daniel Cossins) went away, set up a plan and trained so hard over the winter, so it's really nice to come back this year and prove a point."

Talbot spent the whole indoor season training as a 400m runner, key to his strength down the home straight on Saturday, and is determined to taste more success this summer.

"I want to win at the Europeans," he said. "I've just beaten a world-class field there with Chris Clarke and James Ellington and Adam.

"I can't really get much harder than running against a 19-second 200m runner, so if I can beat Adam hopefully I can go on and challenge (France's Christophe) Lemaitre and the rest of Europe."

Talbot has been in the form of his life this year, with personal bests over 100m (10.14s) and 200m (20.36) and revealed he had been inspired by the progress of regular room-mate Gemili.

"It's great to have that friendly rivalry," he said. "In my mind I think, if a British guy can go sub-20, then I can be the next guy to go sub-20. It's great to see him doing it and hopefully he can pull all of us through."

Gemili, whose time of 20.61 was outside the qualifying mark for Zurich, but, with time to achieve it, he is still likely to be on the plane.

And Talbot, the European bronze medallist two years ago, is confident of beating his compatriot in Switzerland too.

"When I'm on the start line I'm not going to shy away from anything, so, yes, hopefully in the Europeans I can do that. It will be brilliant out there," said Talbot, who will also race over 200m for England at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

"If I win in Zurich or Glasgow, all the hard work I've put in will actually mean something. Right now it's just great being British champion, but you don't want to just be British champion, you want to be world and Olympic champion, so hopefully they'll be two stepping stones in the summer."

Gemili, whose heat on Friday was his first 200m of the year, revealed he had suffered cramp in his foot, but paid tribute to the victor.

"He's been one of my best mates in the sport for the last couple of years," Gemili said. "He's been unlucky with making teams so for him to come and win it, I'm so happy for him."

MORE ON THIS STORY IN NEXT WEEK'S WILTSHIRE TIMES

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