Athletics: Olympic goal drove Leeds sprinter through the pain barrier

Umar Hameed.
Umar Hameed.
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With the Olympics under a year away, young athletes around the country are hoping to force their way on to the global sporting stage.

And one of those is surely Morley sprinter Umar Hameed.

It has been a long road for the promising 22-year- old, who runs for a club in Manchester. He almost had to quit the sport following a injury that forced him to miss the entire 2009 season.

He said: “Things were looking bad and it looked as though I was going to have to retire. Competing at the Olympics was definitely something that encouraged me to continue – I have always wanted to compete against the very best in the world.”

Hameed was doing just that when he picked up the injury, he had travelled to Jamaica to take part in an event which saw the likes of world record holder Usain Bolt competing.

Opportunity

Although making the Great Britain team for the Olympics still remains a possibility, Hameed has also joined up with the Pakistan athletics team as he continues to prepare for a possible appearance in London next year.

He said: “I was in touch with some of the top people in the Pakistan athletics team because the times I was running were better than the people they had on their team.

“I was given the opportunity to join the team and I felt it was a good option. There is so much competition out there, it was good for me to train with top-class athletes.”

There can be little doubt that Hameed’s future is in athletics but that hasn’t always been the case. He began competing at the age of 15, but up to then he had played junior rugby league for Churwell Chiefs.

That was when it became obvious that sprinting was his future.

He recalled: “I was playing a lot of rugby and it was obvious that I had that extra bit of pace so the progression to what I’m doing now was a natural one for me.”

Although the Olympics is his ultimate goal, for now Hameed’s sights are firmly fixed on a possible appearance in the European club competition.

He said: “The European tournament gives me another chance to race against the best in the world so qualifying for that is definitely my main goal in the next few weeks.”

His team currently top the Premier Division and are now just one victory from competing in the European tournament at the end of the season.

Hameed had been a member of Leeds City Athletics Club, but moved across the Pennines to compete in Manchester. And the move has clearly opened numerous doors for the Yorkshireman.

Due to the travelling involved and his training schedule, Hameed was forced to search for a sponsor. And he has now been supported in his efforts by Morley garage Auto Tech.

Britain's Mick Hill throws the javelin on his way to winning the silver medal at the European Track and Field Championships in Budapest, Sunday Aug. 23, 1998. (AP Photo/Dave Caulkin)

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