DORSET Olympic hopeful Adam Booth is gearing up for a late Paris Olympic push just 12 months after making the bold switch from the decathlon to the 400m hurdles. writes Tum Balogun.
The Poole Athletics Club ace revealed he made the change from the grueling multi-event sport during the COVID-19 pandemic where – like many others – he tried his hand at a new challenge.
And Booth, 20, reckons the drastic transition could be the spark to fully ignite his fledgling career.
He said: “It would have been 2020 in the Covid year.
“Because there were no multi events in the UK that year. My coach back home in Poole said ‘you can do a good 400m and hurdle pretty well so I’d be interested to see if you put them both together’.
“I think I had three races and then I qualified for the British Senior Championships, my first one, so it was quite a big milestone.
“And then going into 2021 it was kind of like ‘do we keep going with 400m hurdles or go back to decathlon?'”.
Booth went on to run the European junior qualifier in his second 400m hurdles race and added: “We thought this is probably the event I’m more suited to rather than keeping up with all 10.”
Arguably the highlight of Booth’s career was his fourth-place finish at last year’s European Junior Championships.
Even though it may have been Booth’s first taste of success on the continent, it was in keeping with his knack of big performances on the big stage, having secured a couple of domestic crowns in 2021.
“Going in I was ranked eighth,” he explained. “So, the target was just to get through the rounds and then if we could make the final then that’s a job well done.
“So, coming in fourth, looking back it’s a little bittersweet just missing a medal but when I crossed the line, I was just happy because I was like ‘I’ve just come fourth in Europe’, that’s not really something to be too sad about
“I just try and embrace the bigger atmosphere and obviously controlling nerves is quite a big one.
“I normally do perform better at bigger events – I think I handle myself quite well with the added pressure.”
In keeping with his former discipline, the Dorset athlete excelled in a range of sports as a teenager before deciding athletics was for him and now with Paris on the horizon, is on the cusp of an unlikely bid for Team GB.
And he is confident if his current trajectory continues – first with next year’s European Under-23 Championships – he may be able to make his Olympic dreams a reality earlier than expected.
“(U23s) are pretty much the European juniors but two years on,” Booth added.
“I’ve got my eyes on that to get the qualifying time and then if it all goes to plan, try and bring back a medal to beat my fourth place from two years ago.
“Have a good winter and everything and build up to the year, thinking sensibly more than anything else and then, talking to my coach, I think if we can do that and keep progressing in the same way then there’s potential to get close to the Olympic qualifier for 2024.
“That’s been my long-term goal since a young age.”
- Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit entailgroup.com to find out more