Gemili announces himself with Commonwealth 100m silver
English ex-footballer gets rousing reception in Glasgow as he finishes behind Kemar Bailey-Cole
Few English footballers are given a warm reception at Hampden Park in Glasgow, but former player Adam Gemili was cheered to the rafters as he claimed a silver medal in the men's 100m final at the Commonwealth Games on Monday night.
The 20-year-old, who was once on Chelsea's books but gave up football to concentrate on sprinting, came second to Jamaican superstar-in-waiting Kemar Bailey-Cole in the biggest track event of the competition, and when he realised it, his delight was evident.
"The incredulous grin on Adam Gemili's face spoke of a promise fulfilled," says Oliver Brown of the Daily Telegraph.
It was Gemili's first seior medal and by splitting the "formidable" Jamaican trio of Bailey-Cole, Nickel Ashmeade and Jason Livermore he proved that "his longer-term target of winning a medal at the Rio Olympics remained firmly intact".
The young sprinter has "truly announced himself on the global stage", says Laura Williamson in the Daily Mail. "Gemili's time may not have been as quick as the 10.07secs he clocked in the semi-final and he has still to break that magical ten-second barrier but, quite frankly, who cares. That will come," she adds.
Gemili's medal must be seen as a "minor surprise" says Sean ingle of The Guardian. He was not ranked in the top ten in the Commonwealth ahead of the Games. "But it was only a matter of time for the good vibrations, which have been growing ever since Gemili decided to switch from semi-professional football with Dagenham & Redbridge to athletics in 2011, to be realised."
However, the "understated" reaction of the winner, Bailey-Cole, was "telling" notes Ingle. "He had expected to win, and win he did."
But despite the absence of stars like Usain Bolt, Gemili's achievement should not be underestimated. "As always at a Commonwealth Games, there will be those who compare the quality of the field unfavourably to that of an Olympics or World Championships," says Tom Fordyce of the BBC.
"That is a little like criticising the FA Cup for not being the Champions League. They are different competitions with their own legitimacy, and Gemili's delight told its own tale. For him to split the Jamaicans is a significant achievement."