WRITTEN FOR SKYSPORTS
After finishing an agonising fourth at the European indoor championships last weekend, 800m runner Andrew Osagie is determined to step in to the limelight this summer, writes Nicola Bamford.
The 24-year-old from Essex was in the form of his life in the countdown to the continental championships, running an impressive 1:46.59 life-time best and a near-miss of the British 1,000m record but the two-lap specialist just missed out on a medal in Paris with his 1:48.50 clocking.
The performance was a stand-out achievement for the athlete who had never before reached a senior championship final yet Osagie was left hungry for more.
Punching the padded barrier in frustration in the aftermath of the final, the black-belt in karate explained:
“I think most of the people that watched the final could see that I was absolutely gutted as I like to leave it all on the track and do the best I can at the time and I did but it wasn't enough.
This season almost went to plan with the European selection and the personal best times and for these reasons, I can't be too disappointed, however, finishing 4th in the European final leaves me so hungry for the outdoors now.”
Guided by Craig Winrow at his St Mary’s University base in London, Osagie, overall enjoyed a superb 2011 indoor campaign.
Starting the season with third-place in the Aviva International in Glasgow, the Harlow AC runner went on to collect second spot at the UK indoor Championships and European trials in Sheffield before speeding to third on the British all-time list for the rarely-run 1,000m with 2:18.56 in Birmingham.
The 2010 UK indoor champion then capitalised on his fine form by recording his fastest ever indoor 800m mark in Stockholm three days later, to shoot to sixth on the national all-time rankings in a season which more than made up for a disappointing summer:
“In 2010, I did have a very positive indoor season after just missing out on the final at the World indoor Championships in Doha but I came away from it with a niggling injury which persisted well into May so my outdoor season was looking a bit hampered,” Osagie revealed.
“I started training and things were going well until I got a stress response in my left foot which was a recurring injury I've had for the last few years.
By the time I was back running again, it was July and deep into the outdoor season so I missed the European outdoor Championships (in Barcelona).
However, I managed to run quick enough to be selected for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India but it seemed to be heartbreak again as I missed out on the final by one place.
This was a very low point for me but the anger of this spurred me on to train hard for 2011.”
Despite the below-par, injury-ravaged outdoor season, Osagie managed to register a big 1:46.41 life-time best in Italy in September to place fourth of the 2010 rankings and is looking forward to a bright summer following his encouraging winter.
Living in Teddington with a group of international athletes in a house funded by the Virgin London Marathon, Osagie explained:
“At the moment, I guess there are a group of us who are fighting to be in the top two or three in Britain and the best for years now has been Michael Rimmer who I’m sure will have no problems with me saying I am gunning for him this season as long as I'm in one piece.”
After failing to progress beyond the heats of the 2009 European under23
Championships in Lithuania, Osagie is now evidently a different athlete and such is his rate of progression, he can allow himself to be confident ahead of the 2012 Olympics on home-turf:
“My aims for 2012 are to get there injury free!” he revealed.
“I feel 100% certain that if I don't have any problems between now and then, I will have a good chance of making the Olympic team.
I want to run personal bests every season and just build up my experiences until one day I'm considered one of the best runners in the world - I think that's what every athlete strives for.
I've got my eye on a few times, records and medals but have never wanted to and will never limit myself because anything could happen.”
And with a refreshed hunger for success, the sky certainly is the limit for this promising young athlete.