Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake urges UK athletes to seize their moment

Captain Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake has called on Britain’s gladiators to try their luck at the world championships.

The 28-year-old issued a rallying call ahead of the championships, which kick off in Eugene on Friday.

Mitchell-Blake, part of the 4x100m relay team stripped of its Olympic silver medal after CJ Ujah tested positive for doping last year, delivered his captain’s speech to the team and wishes that his teammates seize the moment.

“What I said in the speech was that we’re the best in the country, the one percent in our country,” said Mitchell-Blake, who will race the 200 heats next week.

Britain’s Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake is in Eugene ahead of the championships. (Martin Rickett/PA)

“I like to think of our sport as a gladiatorial sport in that it’s us in the arena, against each individual, we don’t have anyone to help us or 90 minutes or overtime.

“We train tireless hours for one shot. So let’s go, let’s do our best and have fun, let’s be authentic and hope it will endear us to the public.

“It’s not always the best athlete that commands admiration, because it’s hard to connect with consistent success. Nobody has that in sport – we all have our ups and downs and with social media there’s a lot of pressure to be perfect.

“We are not perfect, it is normal to have imperfections. I think audiences can relate more to someone who is seen as flawed, who overcame a battle and then succeeded because that’s how life is.

“You have ups and downs, along the way you meet success, you meet failures, but what makes success even more enjoyable is following this path.

“We all have a story to tell and that’s why I say be authentic when you get the chance because it’s your chance to endear yourself to the public.”

Laura Muir opens her 1500m campaign at Hayward Field on Friday as the Scot seeks her first outdoor medal at the World Championships.

The 29-year-old, who won silver at the Olympics last year, is joined by Zharnel Hughes and Reece Prescod, the pair competing in the 100m heats.

Muller UK Athletics Championships - Day Two - Manchester Regional Arena
Laura Muir begins her championships at Hayward Field on Friday. (Isaac Parkin/PA)

Holly Bradshaw is aiming to add to her Olympic bronze medal and competes in the pole vault qualifier with Nick Miller (hammer) and Sophie McKinna (shot put) also competing on day one.

Mitchell-Blake added: “There are so many variables that we have no control over.

“So what we control is that lane, that track, that throwing circle, that mat, that post, whatever our individual discipline is – go ahead, focus on yourself, control what you can control and it’s your performance.”

Naomi C. Amerson