European medallist Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake ready to test himself against the world’s best in Birmingham
The 24-year-old will compete in a star-studded men’s 100m at the Alexander Stadium on Saturday (18 August), just nine days after claiming his first individual medal at a major championships.
Mitchell-Blake won 200m silver at the European Championships in Berlin in his equal second quickest time ever over 200m, finishing second behind world champion Ramil Guliyev.
“I am happy. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet because I haven’t allowed it to. My season isn’t finished yet as I have still got a couple of meets lined up. I don’t like to reflect midseason because you lose focus and I still want to achieve more this year. But I am happy to secure a medal at a senior championship,” Mitchell-Blake said.
Whilst many athletes will be winding down their seasons after a busy summer of racing, Mitchell-Blake feels like he is only just starting his 2018 season. The European silver medal has given the British sprinter fresh impetus going into the final few meets of the season, including Saturday’s Müller Grand Prix Birmingham.
“I feel like my season is just starting. At the beginning of the year I had a rough spell, I wasn’t running what I thought I should be running and I was pretty frustrated. The trials were kind of a turning point, running 20.24, I saw a little bit of hope that I could still do something this year.
“I just kept my head down, kept training, and I produced my second-best time ever, so I am on the right track and I believe I have got more in the tank going forward,” the 24-year-old said.
Mitchell-Blake will be looking to follow-up his European silver medal with another strong performance when he competes in the men’s 100m on Saturday.
But, he will face stiff competition, from the world’s fastest sprinters, with world leader Noah Lyles, European champion Zharnel Hughes and Commonwealth champion Akani Simbine all confirmed to be competing at the Alexander Stadium.
“I am excited to race in Birmingham. It’s going to be a quick race because everyone’s had a two-week break and itching to run. The field is stellar with the likes of Reece [Prescod], CJ [Ujah], you have also got the Americans, the Jamaicans, the South Africans in there. I would like to throw myself into the mix, it should produce a fast time.”
Although Mitchell-Blake focussed solely on the 200m in Berlin, the British sprinter is also a talented 100m runner, having run under 10 seconds last year; the distance he will compete over in Birmingham.
“I don’t want to be labelled as just a 200 guy. I do like the 100 metres, it takes me a bit more time to get into my rhythm but going down the line I want to be a dominant force in both the 100 and 200. Right now, I understand the 200 is my better event but I would like to master both crafts,” Mitchell-Blake said.
With the world’s fastest sprinters set to go head-to-head at the Alexander Stadium, this weekend will give Mitchell-Blake a chance to test himself against the world’s best across the shorter sprint distance.
The silver medal from Berlin has given the 24-year-old a taste of individual glory and, whilst it might not have been the exact colour medal he wanted, the sprinter says he has got even more to give.
“At the end of the season I will probably look back on it and I have got to give myself some credit because at the end of the day you work for medals and I was able to secure a senior medal.
“When you retire, you are judged by your medals and your character, so I want to leave a good taste in people’s mouth with my presence and hopefully some medals by my name as well. My aim is to keep building on it, keep continuing to get medals and hopefully be a staple on the medal table,” Mitchell-Blake said.
See the biggest stars at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham on Saturday 18 August; for tickets visit: https://www.britishathletics.org.uk/events-and-tickets/muller-grand-prix-birmingham/