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Harrow athlete Baddeley targets Olympic qualification
3:05pm Wednesday 20th June 2012 in Local Sport
The vultures are circling around Harrow middle distance runner Andy Baddeley as he goes in search of a London 2012 berth this weekend.
But Olympic silver medallist Steve Cram insists he is in perfect shape to leave his rivals feeding off the scraps in Birmingham.
Since he made his breakthrough on the world stage in 2007 – reaching the World Championship 1500m final in Osaka – Baddeley has been a relative shoo-in for selection for ever major international meeting, last summer’s global gathering aside.
However, while Baddeley’s domestic form has been nothing if not consistent, he has certainly benefited from a lack of concerted competition in that time.
That has changed somewhat with the emergence of rookie Ross Murray this season, the 21-year-old joining Baddeley as one of three Brits to have run the Olympic 1500m A standard.
Olympic year is well known as a shot in the arm to athletes but, while acknowledging it has worked for Murray, Cram believes there’s no better example of the power of the Games than Baddeley himself.
“Andy has been the dominant force domestically for a good few years now,” said Cram, speaking at the Yorkshire International Business Convention on behalf of Yorkshire Bank.
“But he has not been able to deliver on the global stage as he might have liked in the last few years. However, when I have seen him this year he has been in as good shape as he has been in for a long while – he has got a good bit of pace.
“But Ross Murray is coming through this year and has run well and is going to make sure Andy has some good competition at the trials.”
But while Cram insists Baddeley may have to pull out all the stops to make the Games – the 30-year-old will need to finish in the top two to guarantee his berth – he insists he’ll be far from an Olympic also-ran.
While acknowledging the Kenyan triumvirate will take some beating, Cram – who won Olympic 1500m silver in 1984 – believes Baddeley has the weapons in his armoury to launch an unlikely medal tilt – if he makes the final.
“The first job when Andy gets to the Olympics will be to make the final,” added Cram. “If it is a tactical race and he runs with more authority than he maybe has previously then he can do well.”
Steve Cram is an ambassador for Yorkshire Bank, who are helping bring local communities together to encourage relationships and business growth. Visit www.ybonline.co.uk
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