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Rimmer Osagie

21 May 2012

The fight to become the first British male middle-distance Olympic medallist since 1988 hots up this summer as world indoor bronze medallist, Andrew Osagie (coach: Craig Winrow) and European silver medallist Michael Rimmer (Norman Poole) go up against each other and a world class field at the Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace on 13-14 July.

Both athletes stated their case for a place in the Olympic final with world-class performances at the Doha Samsung Diamond League with Osagie smashing his personal best clocking 1:44.64 and Rimmer narrowly behind in 1:44.86 – the first time that two Brits have ran sub-1:45 in the same race since 1992.

Osagie narrowly edged out Rimmer in Doha, and is keen to continue his early season form at Crystal Palace on Friday 13 July.

“I like racing no matter who it is against, I prefer it when I get to race against the best in the world and Michael [Rimmer] has proved he is one of the best in the world over the past few years.

“The Crystal Palace Diamond League is the last big race [before the Olympics] in front of a British crowd, a crowd which is always the best to run in front of, so I can’t wait to be a part of the experience. A good run in London  would set me up for the Olympics and I would love to win at Crystal Palace.

Rimmer on the other hand is playing down the rivalry between the two, admitting that he is in charge of his own destiny as he looks to Crystal Palace to prepare him for the biggest summer of his career. 

“Any rivalry is a positive whether it's between people from the same country or not. It's what sport is about and makes things more exciting. For me it makes no difference where my opponents come from, I simply try to concentrate on what I do best.

“I'm happy about where I am right now. Hopefully there's much more to come, but to start off in practically my first 800m race in 12 months with my best ever start to a season is a big confidence boost. There are still a lot of elements to work on and I need to keep my head down and continue to work hard.” 

But before the Aviva London Grand Prix, the Brits will come face-to-face at the Aviva 2012 Trials and Osagie is confident that despite the fierce competition, he has what it takes to secure a place at his first Olympic Games.

“My strength is racing and for someone to beat me now they will have to be very strong. The closer it gets, the more realistic it becomes. It would mean a lot to me to be selected and to run well at the Olympics.

“I often look back and think that if I didn't win a small race back in Harlow when I was 15 which won I wouldn’t be where would I am now - so needless to say I'm glad I did.”

But Osagie and Rimmer’s inclusion in the British team is not a foregone conclusion, and with Mukhtar Mohammed (Mustafa Mohamed), Gareth Warbuton (Darrell Maynard) and Joe Thomas (Arwyn Davies) all in contention, Britain could send their first full complement of 800m athletes to the Olympics since Atlanta in 1996.

And Rimmer is confident that if he maintains his current level of fitness, he has every chance of taking his place in his second successive Olympic Games team.

“The most important thing for me is to remain injury free - if I do this, I believe I have a great chance of winning the Aviva 2012 Trials. There's some great competition this year, so qualification won't be easy - I have to concentrate on myself and draw from previous experience.

“Last year I was injured and came second at the Trials, but everybody knows the main aim is the Olympics and every other race is a stepping stone.” 

Back the team and watch the world's best athletes in action at the Aviva 2012 Trials on 22-24 June at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium and at the Aviva London Grand Prix on 13-14 July at Crystal Palace. Buy your tickets today at www.uka.org.uk/aviva-series or call 08000 55 60 56. #backtheteam