It’s been a strange old year for James Dasaolu, for every high there seems to have been a low, every step forward, a step back.
Injuries ruined his indoor season just when it was getting good, the same problem and some questionable decisions from English athletics almost threatened to do the same to his outdoors aspirations.
Yet after being overlooked, even for a relay place, at the Commonwealth Games, things have started to look up for the sprinter, who now appears to have claimed the position of number one among a strong bunch of British sprinters.
Nonetheless with the injury nightmares and setbacks, the Londoner has had this year; it was difficult to predict just how his race would go last night.
Luckily for him, it was the performance that was most definitely the one that pushed him in the right direction. Surging out of the blocks, the Brit gained a commanding lead at the 60 metre mark and held on from there. His victory may have only been by a matter of inches or the equivalent of my little toe, but the significance of it is far greater.
It ensured Dasaolu had come through his two biggest tests this season in the best way possible. First, taking European gold against Lemaitre and company and then becoming inter-continental champion, brushing away two of the fastest athletes in the world this year: Mike Rodgers and Richard Thompson in the process.
Not a bad collection of results for the second-fastest British of all-time, especially when his outdoor season didn’t start until the 3rd of July.
After injuring himself whilst setting the world alight in the British Indoor championships 60 metres as he ran a world leading 6.47, Dasaolu was cruelly denied the chance to prove he was the best on the globe in Sopot this March as well as setting back his preparations by months. To make things worse he forced to watch on as Richard Kilty, the man who only finished 3rd in that same race became the World Indoor Champion to become the new bright light of British sprinting.
Then, rather strangely despite running 9.91 the previous year, the sprinter was overlooked for the completely by Team England for the Commonwealth Games. Initially it seemed that it might have been a personal choice to avoid the championships, but after his season’s debut in Lausanne, Dasaolu revealed to me that he had definitely wanted to be in Scotland. Even if it had just been in the relay: “”I was eligible (for the Commonwealth Games), even if I didn’t warrant running in the 100 metres at the time, I still would have liked to have been part of the relay team but I was overlooked.” he said.
On that night in Lausanne, Dasaolu brought himself back into the attention of the sprinting world, running 10.03 to trounce his opponents and set a seasonal best. Yet he still wasn’t assured of a place at the European Championships, having been unable to compete in the British trials a few days earlier. Knowing he would have to build on his performance to convince selectors to pick him over Britain’s new 9.96 man, Chijindu Ujah, he then went and ran the same time at Glasgow Grand Prix. The selectors were convinced, Dasaolu was off to Zurich.
The rest is history.
The only thing missing from this year was a time under 10 seconds, not that he minds that too much: “I would have loved to have gone sub 10 this season but I wouldn’t replace that with the medal I won at the Europeans and the win here, because that’s what it’s all about, being competitive and the fast times will come.”
After 7 times under 10.1 seconds this year including 10.00 in Brussels last week, one could predict that this British sprinter will end up being correct in his prediction, even if he will now have to wait until next year.
Who knows, maybe a world medal will come with it?