Jeremiah Azu eyes ‘big opportunity’ to chase down Wales medal in 100 metres

The 21-year-old won the British sprint title in June.

By Press Association Published: 1 August 2022 - 10.09am

British champion Jeremiah Azu insists his Commonwealth Games target is to win a medal and not prove a point after missing out on 100 metres selection at the World Championships.

Welshman Azu upset English pair Reece Prescod, a European silver medallist, and Zharnel Hughes in June to win the  100m at the UK Athletics Championships in Manchester.

But the 21-year-old’s time of 9.90 seconds was wind-assisted, and Azu had to settle for a place on the Great Britain relay squad at the World Championships in Oregon.

“It was unfortunate what happened,” said Azu. “Going to the Championships without the standard, you’ve just got to pray the weather’s on your side.

“But mentally the victory did a lot for me, the confidence I got from it.

“I was part of the relay squad in Oregon and I took a lot from that. To see how the best do it, it’s very different from your local races.

“Just to see how people handle pressure when things go right or things go wrong is something you take all in.”

Muller UK Athletics Championships – Day Two – Manchester Regional Arena
Jeremiah Azu (right) celebrates after winning in the men’s 100m title at the UK Athletics Championships in June (Martin Rickett/PA)

Azu picked up a “little niggle” in the United States last month and returned home early, with the fact he did not run in the heats denying him a bronze medal that the 4×100 squad won.

The close proximity to the World Championships has produced late changes at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, and Prescod and Hughes are both missing from the 100m field.

But there will be a strong Jamaican contingent, while 2018 champion Akani Simbine from South Africa is an obvious threat should he make it to the start line for Tuesday’s heats.

“This is a big opportunity for me,’ said Azu, who only took up sprinting in his home city Cardiff at the age of 16.

2018 Commonwealth Games – Day Five
South Africa’s Akani Simbine won 100 metres gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games (Martin Rickett/PA)

“I’m in great shape and medals are what’s important at these Championships, not times, and I don’t fear anyone.

“It would be nice to run quick, but to a get medal would be amazing.

“It would be a really big start to my career and I want to be at the forefront of sprinting.

“When people hear my name I want them to think of sprinting. You’ve got to think big in this sport.”

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