Holmes: Games can be launchpad

Dame Kelly Holmes is predicting a lot of success for British athletes in Glasgow

Dame Kelly Holmes is predicting a lot of success for British athletes in Glasgow

First published in National Sport News © by

Dame Kelly Holmes believes the Commonwealth Games is an important platform for athletes who are targeting Olympic success at Rio and has backed up-and-coming British talents to break through in Glasgow.

The 44-year-old, who is president of Team England, won 1500metres gold in the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester before going on to be crowned a double Olympic champion over that distance and the 800m two years later in Athens.

Holmes thinks the next 11 days could help to shape the career of 19-year-old 800m runner Jessica Judd and Scotland's Laura Muir in the same event, with their prospects looking bright for Great Britain in 2016.

"The Commonwealth Games is a really good platform for anyone who is looking to go to an Olympic Games," Holmes told Press Association Sport.

"That two-week period of understanding what a multi-sport event is like as it's the only one outside of the Olympic Games is crucial. Integrating into the village and looking into the dining hall environment, it's a big learning curve.

"It can be very overwhelming but because we are split down into seven nations, we've got a raft of talent being able to compete that wouldn't necessarily be able to compete (at an Olympics) so there are new chances and new opportunities for those to break through.

"The 800m is going to be a really competitive event. Along with Jessica Judd, there's also Laura Muir from Scotland who is one of the up-and-coming young talents and what would be nice is to see how these competitive environments are conducive to our overall global team if you put them all together, and that's what I'm looking forward to personally."

Holmes also believes double Olympic and World champion Mo Farah will wow the crowds at Hampden Park despite having an up-and-down season where he has competed in only one track race in the United States and pulled out of the last two he was set to compete in after suffering abdominal pains.

Farah is set to compete in the 5,000m and 10,000m, events in which he has experienced great success but has never won a medal in Commonwealth competition.

"Mo will make his decisions as he goes along during the championships and the closer it gets to his event," Holmes said.

"He's a double world champion and a double Olympic champion and I don't think you wouldn't write him off.

"He is here and he is entering and he will believe he can win both. The test will come in his first event. He's got some great opposition and depending on how he gets on in the first event will determine if he competes in the second but I wouldn't write him off."

With sprinter Usain Bolt only choosing to take part in the 4x100m relay and countries who tend to do well at Olympic Games and World Championships absent, the Commonwealths has been dismissed by some as a poor relation when it comes to international events.

However, Holmes does not subscribe to that view.

"Depending on your sport and where you are at in your career, every championship has different importance," Holmes said.

"From an athlete's perspective and when I used to compete, to be able to get four global medals that I could get, which were the European champs, World champs, Commonwealth Games and Olympics, medals meant everything. So I was there and I did three Commonwealth Games and they were all prior to my Olympic Games.

"There are other sports that don't have the Olympic Games and this will be their equivalent. Then you have athletes where this is a year that they want to take slightly easier because they've had the world championships and the Olympics but Usain Bolt turning up still means something."

Holmes added: "You've also obviously got those who people have heard of like boxer Nicola Adams but she's never won a Commonwealth Games boxing medal because it's never been in the Commonwealth Games, so of course being Olympic champion that's what she wants to do.

"There's Gemma Gibbons who won silver in the judo. It was heartwarming to see her say 'I love you mum' and those are the moments you don't forget. This will be another chance for her to get the gold. It's going to be brilliant.

"There are going to be those jump-off-the-armchair moments and the memories you will never forget and that's all parcel of the whole atmosphere that Glasgow will feel during the Games."

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