Olympic hero Darren Campbell has hailed sprint sensation Adam Gemili as a "special pedigree" as the 2012 games officially begin tomorrow, but has warned against expecting too much of the 18 year-old.
Gemili, who only started sprinting 18 months ago, burst onto the domestic scene at the British trials last month, snatching an Olympic spot and giving British number one Dwain Chambers a run for his money.
After claiming world junior gold with a championship record time of 10.05sec, the sprinter heads into the 2012 games with a bright future. However, 2004 gold medalist Darren Campbell has warned about placing pressure on his young shoulders.
"He's a special talent who, let's nor forget, only started sprinting 18 months ago," said former European champion Campbell. "His time in semi-pro football has made him strong in the last 40 metres and better than most other sprinters. Of all the young talent I've seen coming through over the years this guy has a special pedigree.
"The trick now is not to rush him, not to bulk him up too much and too soon. Let him keep working on his technique. The kid's 18. He won't be at his best until he's 26 in time for the 2020 Olympics."
Campbell underlined his assertions of Gemili, by pointing to his performance in the British trials, where he finished a narrow second to eventual winner Chambers. Despite being 16 years Chambers' junior, he was applauded for his mature running, something Campbell highlights.
"I liked the fact that in the trials, when Dwain Chambers beat him into second place, he didn't crumble despite a bad start.
"He ran badly and still got second and a place in the Olympics. That, to me, shows a good mentality too. Now he can just enjoy his first Olympics with no pressure."
While the games will no doubt be a learning experience for Gemili, what does Campbell expect of the prodigious talent? "At a push he could make the final, although he may have to run sub-10 seconds to do so. If not he may be a serious medal contender by the 2016 Games in Rio."