9th July 2013

Boldon Predicting Surprises In Donetsk

09 July 2013

Four-time Olympic medallist Ato Boldon believes that GB & NI have it all to play for as IAAF World Youth Championships get underway in Donetsk on the 10-14 July.

Boldon, who won 100m and 200m bronze at the 1996 Olympic Games followed by 100m silver and 200m bronze four years later believes rankings count for nothing as the GB & NI begin their campaign in Ukraine.  

“It’s one thing to look at a team on paper, but to me the only paper that matters is that on the medal table when the competition is finished. I think the GB & NI team has a very good chance especially in the heptathlon because you have a real star in Morgan Lake.

“However, this is a place where there are a lot of people who are showing up here very much under the radar and will have their best performances of the year in Donetsk. If you’re only looking at the form charts, those athletes are going to jump up and surprise you. One thing that makes this event unique is that in the senior ranks you very rarely have a huge surprise. However, at the youth and junior level, sometimes you have some immense surprises, which makes it a whole lot of fun to watch,” added Boldon, who is now an IAAF Ambassador.

17 athletes from the GB & NI team that starred in the World Youth Championships two years ago were named in the squad for this month’s European Junior Championships in Rieti, and Boldon is excited to see who will come through these championships on to further success.

 “I think if you look at the history of these championships back to 1999, it has given the sport an indication of possibly who’s to come. Usain Bolt, Allyson Felix and Kirani James come to mind as the most successful athletes that have gone onto the senior ranks and I’m excited to see who will follow these names in Donetsk.”

However, the 1992 double World Junior champion believes that the athletes that don’t let the occasion get to them will be the ones that will flourish in the Ukraine over the next few days.

“There’s a tendency when you’re an athlete to feel as though because this is a major championships you have to add something extra to it. I look back on my career now and realised I did too much and the reality is that the magnitude of the event creates its own adrenalin.

“It’s a real mistake to then feel like you have to put in something extra into the performance because the ones that succeed will tell you that when they became champions they understood that you had to go out there, relax and rely on your instincts. We all know a better athlete is a more relaxed athlete, and the personal bests and championships come from that relaxation.”

The timetable for the IAAF World Youth Championships is available here