As host nation at the World Athletics Championships, there were high hopes that Team GB would achieve their medal target of six in London 2017. However, with only one podium place so far – thanks to Mo Farah’s impressive victory in the 10,000m – these hopes of glory are fading fast, only to be replaced with tears of disappointment from Laura Muir, Sophie Hitchin and Katarina Johnson-Thompson.
So as we near the end of this year’s Championships what lessons can Team GB take from their fellow athletes to help them get back on track?
Lesson #1 Champions Never Give Up On Their Dreams
Botswana sprinter, Isaac Makwala, clearly demonstrated his tenacity and desire to win after he was banned from competing in Monday’s 200m heats because of a suspected case of novovirus. Makwala refused to give up on his dream of securing a place in the 200m semi-final and persuaded the IAAF to allow him to run a solo time-trial to enable him to qualify. With the odds stacked against him, Makwala took on the driving rain to secure his place in the semi-final, before competing again less than two hours later to qualify for the final. This ability to develop a winning mind-set is what differentiates true champions from their peers whatever your field of excellence. Team GB should take inspiration from Makwala’s actions and draw on their self-belief to help them overcome any hurdles in their path so they too can achieve the extraordinary.
Lesson #2 When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going
In an interview about his upcoming 5,000m final, Mo Farah described the challenging nature of athletics, “I would have loved to have seen Usain win but at this level no-one is going to give it you, no matter who you are. It would be pretty amazing to bow out with a double gold, but these guys are coming for me. I have to be ready.” Mo clearly demonstrated his extraordinary determination and drive in the 10,000 m final where he stumbled, suffered a leg injury, yet refused to lose his nerve as he stormed to gold in what he described as “one of the toughest races of his life.” This ability to stay focused on the end goal and run your own race is as crucial in the commercial world as it is on the athletics track.
As the World Championships draw to a close, I’m sure like me, you’ll be glued to the TV on Saturday night to cheer Mo Farah’s on to what could be his 11th consecutive gold medal. I can’t think of a more fitting final appearance for a true champion whose determination, ambition and drive will undoubtedly inspire a new generation of Team GB hopefuls to follow in his legendary footsteps.