Tyrone wants to be more than just 'best of British'
TYRONE EDGAR says he couldn't care less about his emergence as Britain's best 100m runner at the Olympics – he won't be satisfied until he has made an impact on the world stage. The 26-year-old former Highgate Harriers sprinter...
BY JOHN TOMPSON
TYRONE EDGAR says he "couldn't care less" about his emergence as Britain's best 100m runner at the Olympics - he won't be satisfied until he has made an impact on the world stage.
The 26-year-old former Highgate Harriers sprinter, from Eversholt Street in Euston, reached the semi-finals of the 100m in Beijing, his first Olympic Games, and out-performed Great Britain team-mates Simeon Williamson and Craig Pickering.
"For me, it's not about establishing myself as Britain's best sprinter," he said. "Being British number one would mean nothing to me. I couldn't care less, unless I'm racing the best in the world, competing at the big events when it counts."
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The former pupil of St Aloysius College in Hornsey Lane, Highgate, also ran the second leg for the Great Britain 4x100m relay team, which was disqualified in the heats after a botched changeover between Pickering and Marlon Devonish.
That failure from the reigning champions was a "bitter disappointment", Edgar said. "The Jamaicans showed the rest of the world that you cannot afford to do anything wrong on the day."
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Indeed, Jamaica romped to victory in the men's 4x100m relay, setting the fastest ever time in the process.
And Usain Bolt also left the rest of the world trailing en route to gold in the 100m and 200m, both in world record times.
"Usain put in a great performance in Beijing," admits Edgar. "He has put sprinting on a pedestal now and showed the rest of the world that they have some catching up to do. It's clear now; you have to run 9.9 or 9.8 seconds under pressure to even have a chance of a medal."
After receiving £26.5m worth of National Lottery funding, Britain's track and field athletes failed to meet their pre-Games target of five medals, falling one short, with only 400m runner Christine Ohuruogu taking gold.
UK Athletics has indicated that it will carry out individual performance reviews, which may affect funding for athletes hoping to compete in 2012.
And Edgar believes Beijing proved that Britain's track and field athletes have to improve if they want to compete for medals in London.
"Us British guys have to step up and always be on our A-game now," he said.
"We have to if we are going to challenge the top sprinters in the world and be up there with the Jamaicans, the Trinidadians and the Americans.
"But we need more of this kind of pressure if we are to make the finals at major Games. Britain has produced before, look at Linford Christie and Kelly Holmes. They could do it, so there is no reason why I and others can't do it."
Edgar finished fourth in the Olympic Trials and was only selected for Beijing after first placed Dwain Chambers' lifetime Olympic ban for taking performance-enhancing drugs was upheld by the High Court.
Williamson and Pickering also beat Edgar at the trials but failed to reproduce their performances in Beijing, running slower times and failing to make it past the second round.
Edgar, on the other hand, improved on his time of 10.22s at the trials to make the Olympic semi-finals in a time of 10.10s - close to his season's best of 10.06s.
"I proved myself on the world stage, where it counts, and I've got to keep doing that," he said.
"My prediction was to maybe make round two so I was particularly pleased with my performance, even though I wanted to make the final.
"People don't remember how you performed at Olympic Trials and people won't remember Tyrone Edgar for coming fourth. They'll remember Tyrone Edgar for how he performed at the Olympics - Britain's best 100m runner."
Edgar's next chance to prove himself at international level will come at next year's European Indoor Championships in Torino, in March, followed by next summer's World Outdoor Championships in Berlin.
"I'm going to keep working hard in training and then maybe within a year, or a couple of years, you'll see a man in a British vest among the best sprinters in the world," he said.
A whole nation, not just Tyrone Edgar, would certainly care about that.