Gold standard is still a target for Golding
PUBLISHED: 13:27 02 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:18 24 August 2010
By Ben Kosky OLYMPIC glory proved elusive during Julian Golding s sprinting career, but he still hasn t lost hope of bringing success to Brent in four years time. Golding, who grew up in Harlesden and went on to win Commonwealth, European and World Championship medals...
By Ben Kosky
OLYMPIC glory proved elusive during Julian Golding's sprinting career, but he still hasn't lost hope of bringing success to Brent in four years' time.
Golding, who grew up in Harlesden and went on to win Commonwealth, European and World Championship medals, is one of the growing band of athletes returning to their roots to nurture the next generation.
He coaches youngsters in Brent schools every day and also works with the borough's junior athletics squad three times a week at the new-look Willesden Sports Centre.
The 33-year-old, who retired from competitive athletics last year, admits: "There's certainly the potential in Brent - it's a case of how hard they're willing to work and whether they believe they can achieve it.
"There's so much excitement about the Games coming to London in 2012 and some of the kids I work with now have a realistic chance of making it, but they'll need to really come out of their comfort zone.
"Unfortunately I didn't make it to the Olympics in my individual event, but if I could coach someone and see them qualify for the Games, I'd be jumping for joy.
"I think actually I'd be more excited than them - it's something every athlete aspires to. It'd make me very happy to give something back to the community I grew up in."
Golding went to St Mary's Primary School, Willesden and John Keble Primary School, Harlesden, and took his first step into athletics by joining Queen's Park Harriers at the age of nine.
Despite moving to St Augustine's Secondary School in Kilburn, he continued to train at the original Willesden Sports Centre and gradually moved up the ladder to gain international recognition.
Injury and illness cost him the chance to compete at two Olympic Games and when he did make it, as a member of the GB 4x100m relay team in Sydney 2000, a first round disqualification ended Golding's dream.
He did, however, win both European and World bronze medals - and the highlight of his career was the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, when he claimed gold in both the 200m and 4x100m relay.
Golding's coach Mike McFarlane and Clarence Callender, both Olympic medallists in the 1980s, were mentors to the sprinter during his career - and the presence of role models, he feels, is key to the chances of future international success for Brent.
"There's a plethora of talent, but we need more coaches who know the area and can relate to the kids to try and help them fulfil their potential," says Golding, who also works with Callender across town at the Newham Sports Academy.
"When you're teaching them, you need to command respect and, if they respect you, they'll listen to you.
"I'm not giving them anything I haven't done myself and that's how it was with my coach as well. I think it helps when you're feeling cramp and you know that your coach has gone through that too.
"We come from similar backgrounds and I remember the way my coach instilled confidence in me - I want to do the same for these kids and help give them some direction.
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