UPTON middle distance star Andy Baddeley insisted that all his hard work still paid off despite finishing ninth in yesterday’s 1,500m Olympic final in Beijing.
The 26-year-old Harrow Athletics Club member, singled out by Lord Sebastian Coe as a genuine medal contender, booked his place in the final in 3:37:47 minutes – bettered only by four other qualifiers.
But yesterday afternoon, he failed to make an impression until the bell , when he moved around the outside but was unable to keep up with the pace of eventual gold medal winner Rashid Ramzi from Bahrain.
Baddeley became the first British winner of the ‘Dream Mile’ since Peter Elliott in 1991, in June earlier this year, joining a star-studied list that includes former Olympic champion Steve Ovett.
And having reached the final in his Olympic debut, Baddeley was adamant earlier this week that he could follow in a long line of successful British 1,500m runners and bag a place on the podium.
Andy, speaking before the 1,500m final, said: “Everything is going according to plan so far. It’s been bloody hard work but that’s what it’s all about.
“You put all the hours in at training for moments like this and now that I’ve reached the final I’ll be giving it my all.
“My semi-final had a few big names in it but I’ve still come through that OK, so I can take confidence from that. There has been a lot of waiting and that has been quite nerve wracking, but once I got out there I felt really good.”
Baddeley may have feared the worst when the line-up for the semi-finals was announced – drawing the short straw of a heat featuring the world champion Bernard Lagat and world silver medallist Rashid Ramzi, of Bahrain.
But the former Cambridge University student kept his cool to produce a late surge and easily qualify, reminiscent of former British greats Ovett and Lord Coe.
Andy added: “I always dare to dream of medals – I have been doing that ever since I was a little kid – but in terms of how realistic it is you can never be too sure. I remember watching the old 1,500m guys and the rules certainly haven’t changed to win – but you don’t necessarily have to be leading all the way to win.
“I have been trying to learn a lot and just keep going. I don’t know what to expect on one hand it is just a track and just another race but on the other it is the Olympic final and I should be excited about it and I am excited about it.
“Great Britain has got an excellent history in this event but the men haven’t enjoyed a great deal of success recently but I’d like to put that right.”
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