Adam Gemili has revealed his battle with depression after turning to comfort eating during the worst year of his life.

The 29-year-old sprinter has shed 10kgs after moving to Italy following controversy and poor performances in 2022.

Gemili lost his lottery funding in December 2021 after staying with ex-coach Rana Reider, who was the subject of an investigation by the US Center for Safe Sport following multiple complaints of sexual misconduct, allegations which he denied.

Reider was given one-year probation earlier this year after he “acknowledged a consensual romantic relationship with an adult athlete, which presented a power imbalance”, according to his lawyer.

Gemili remained in America with Reider until after last year’s World Championships – where he failed to reach the 200m semi-final and only ran the heats as Great Britain won bronze in the 4x100m relay.

At the time Gemili hit out at bad press surrounding Reider for his performance – before apologising and taking the blame.

He also failed to make the 200m final at the Commonwealth Games during a year which left him rock bottom.

“I was alone in Florida, I was eating, I wasn’t doing anything and I found escape in food,” he told the PA news agency, ahead of the start of the World Championships in Budapest on Saturday. “It was the worst year of my life.

“I was severely depressed and food was a big escape. It’s been about getting happy again, getting mentally in a better place and becoming professional again. I started the year at 87 kilos, I’m now 77.

“I’m not like the other sprinters. I look at food and I put on weight. I’m not massively ripped, I don’t have a huge six pack. I’ve never needed that to run fast but I don’t need to be carrying an extra 10 kilos.

“I wasn’t professional last year and it’s made a massive difference. Being happy changes everything, your hormones, you start sleeping better.

“If you don’t sleep well you wake up in the middle of the night, you’re hungry, you go and eat and it’s just a bad cycle.

“It happens to a lot of people and a lot of athletes, especially when they’re not successful and then they find escape through food. I didn’t have people around me to say ‘stop that’.

“It was the worst time of my life and you don’t realise the negative effects it can have mentally.

“I was waking up to negative news, three missed calls from my mum and friends are texting saying ‘have you seen this article that’s come out? Your name and your picture is here’.

“Life in Italy is completely different, you’re waking up every day in the sunshine.

“Jeremiah (Azu) and I have two little electric scooters, we ride those to the track every day, it’s five minutes, train, get your treatment, go home and chill. It’s just good vibes.

“I feel incredibly happy. I’m enjoying every day and training whereas, last year, I was probably training once a week and barely getting through that.

“I was in a terrible place and to go from that to where I am now training with the athletes that I’m training with is great.”

Gemili, now on relay funding, is working with coach Marco Airale in Padua, 40 kilometres outside Venice, in a group which includes Darryl Neita, Reece Prescod and Azu.

He labels Italian Airale a “genius” and “super understanding”, having helped him earn his place in Great Britain’s 4x100m relay squad in Hungary.

While there is no individual slot for Gemili, who came an agonising fourth in the 200m at the Rio Olympics and the 2019 World Championships, he knows what he could still achieve.

Yet the 2014 European 200m champion is starting to think about life after the track and is hopeful of joining the World Athletics Athletes’ Commission, which is being voted for during the Championships in Budapest.

“You want to be an individual athlete but my mindset doesn’t change. I’m still locked in,” he says.

“I’ve been in this position before, at London 2017, and we ended up winning relay gold. Nothing changes for me. I’ve done it before and became world champion.

“Where I am in my career, I’m not that 19, 20-year-old anymore. I’m 30 in October and other things start to take priority in your life.

“I’m going for the World Athletes’ Commission, which is something I’ve always been super passionate about.

“I want to start making meaningful changes. I’m there to actually make a difference.

“I was lucky enough to be there at London 2012 and you would have expected our sport to have come on leaps and bounds and it did at the start but then has regressed back. Anyone who says it hasn’t is kidding themselves.

“We need more participation, we need more sponsorship in the sport, we need to attract more fans to our sport and make it accessible for everyone.”

For now Gemili is determined to enjoy Hungary, after admitting in February he nearly quit athletics and returned to football, having been in Chelsea’s academy as a kid.

“If I reflect on the place I was last year, I did want to give up; I basically stopped and I had options,” he said.

“I wasn’t enjoying it. It’s been a lot of hard work from a lot of people, not just myself but friends, family, training partners, coaches and support staff have helped me get my confidence back.

“I’m grateful to see where I’ve come from and if I can do it, anyone can. I was someone who never thought I would ever be in that position.

“Everyone has their own battles and demons they’re fighting and there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. Just being here at this Championships, I couldn’t have imagine that 12 months ago.”

Rana Reider, the head coach at Florida-based Tumbleweed training group, has been warned and ejected from the 2022 World Athletics Championships after gaining ‘unauthorized access’, according to media reports.

On August 1, 2021, Britany Anderson lined up in lane seven of the final of the Tokyo Olympics 100m hurdles. Having run 12.40, a personal best and the second-fastest time going into the final, only Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, who set an Olympic record of 12.26 in her semi-final, was faster.

Expectations of a medal were high for the 20-year-old Jamaican but it was not to be. She hit the sixth hurdle, managed to clear the seventh but then stumbled, lost her momentum and with it any chance of a place on the podium and making history as the first woman from the Caribbean to win an Olympic medal in the event.

That honour went to her compatriot, Megan Tapper, who finished third behind world record holder Kendra Harrison of the United States, who won silver and Camacho-Quinn, who created history of her own becoming the first Puerto Rican woman to win an Olympic gold medal.

During a recent sit-down with Sportsmax.TV where she talks about her improvement this season, how her training group and her faith in God, have helped her successfully transition to senior competition, Anderson revealed that running her personal best in the semi-final impacted her in a way that she did not expect.

“My emotions were all over the place. I was crying. I was excited, I was overwhelmed,” she said about what caused her to lose her focus after running her lifetime best in the semi-final.

“In the final, I don’t know what…it was like, something went wrong, not just with the hurdles, but because I was so overwhelmed and it was my first senior games, everything was just all over the place.”

Nevertheless, she said she was not disappointed at the eventual outcome saying that she felt like she had won just to make the finals at the Olympic Games.

It is with that mindset that Anderson has approached the start of the new season wherein the span of three weeks she ran three-lifetime bests in the indoors 60m hurdles. Starting at the Millrose Games on January 29, Anderson, who turned 21 in January, ran a lifetime best of 7.91 to defeat a field that included Kendra Harrison.

Just about a week later, she lowered that time to 7.88 while finishing second to Danielle Williams, who ran a then-personal best 7.83 at the New Balance Grand Prix in New York.

Six days later, at the American Track League Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, Anderson would go even faster clocking 7.82, the fourth-fastest time in the world. Only Williams (7.75), Harrison (7.81) and Alia Armstrong of the USA (7.81) have been faster.

According to the former Vere and Camperdown athlete, her success this season comes down to the change in mindset bolstered by improving confidence.

“I feel like it was just the mindset that changed from last season to this season. Last season was just something to show me what I could do this season and I bring all of that to this season, worked on what I had to work on in practice and just bring it out there on the track,” she said.

It wasn’t that long ago that Anderson set the World U20 record in the 100m hurdles, 12.71, in July 2019 in Finland. She is the World U18 champion and the silver medallist at the World U20 Championships in Finland in 2018.

Since that time, her transition to the senior ranks has been relatively painless as evidenced by her qualifying for her first Olympic final eight months after she turned 20.

She credits her training partners at Tumbleweed, the training group she joined in 2019, for helping her make the transition to the senior ranks.

“Most parts of it was the people I had around me, like my training partners, they helped me throughout everything, off the track and on the track so the transition from a junior to a senior wasn’t really hard,” she said, adding that having fellow Jamaicans Christopher Taylor, Christania Williams and fellow hurdler Omar McLeod, played their part in helping her make a smooth transition.

Transitioning to the senior ranks comes with its own challenges because before she can conquer the world, she has to first overcome perhaps the deepest pool of talent currently at Jamaica's disposal with the likes of Danielle Williams, Tapper, Ackera Nugent, perhaps Janeek Brown and Yanique Thompson among others. Asked about where she sees herself among Jamaica's world-class hurdlers, Anderson confidently indicated that she knows what she is capable of.

"I know what I can do. I know what I am going to do. At the trials, I know what I am going there for, so I will just let all of that play out in God's way," she said.

As for this year, Anderson is focused on the World Championships in Oregon in July but as it relates to World Indoors next month and the Commonwealth Games, no decision has yet been made. Her agent Mario Bassani said those decisions will be made at a later date and will be as a result of discussions with her coach Rana Reider, whom she describes as a really great coach.

“The lesson I take from him is I can do whatever I can put my mind to,” she said.

So far, that advice seems to be working well for Britany Anderson.

 As Bassani tells it, whichever championships she decides to compete at this year, she will be ready.




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