TEAM GB star Adam Gemili nearly quit athletics to return to playing football having played on Chelsea’s books as a kid.
Gemili has competed at the highest level as a sprinter, with one of his highs being making the 2012 Team GB Olympic team as an 18-year-old.
He has also since competed in the Rio Olympic games in 2016 and Tokyo in 2021.
Gemili also has a gold medal in relay from the 2017 world championships.
However, the 29-year-old questioned quitting athletics after crashing out of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, which came six years after agonisingly missing out on a bronze medal in the 200ms at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The British sprinter, who is of Iranian and Moroccan descent, considered going back to his roots: playing football.
Gemili was on Chelsea‘s books between 2001 and 2008, and also had a stint at Reading before moving onto Dagenham & Redbridge, where he stayed between 2010-12.
He told The Times: “I was going back to football.
“I reached out to a few clubs and they said, ‘Come and do some training with us.’
“I can’t say the clubs but there was a Championship club and a League One club.
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“No Premier League clubs — maybe one day — but Chelsea are great and they’ve always said I can go down and do some stuff with them whenever I want.
“After the Commonwealth Games it was a big, ‘Do I quit and go back to football and try it, maybe go into the National League and make a bit of money and enjoy my last few years of sport — or do I commit to this?’
“And I thought, ‘Do you know what, I’ve got unfinished business.’
“I’ve come fourth at the Olympics and the world champs [in 2019].
“I’ve always been just about close and I believe that if I can get myself in shape, I can run with the best.”
But Gemili says he’s starting to fall back in love with running – despite not making any money out of the sport or being sponsored.
Gemili came second place behind the rising star Charlie Dobson in the 60m at the World Indoor Tour Finals in Birmingham on Saturday.
He said: “I basically quit the sport.
“I didn’t have any interest. I didn’t enjoy getting up [and] training.
“I hated it and that was because of all the stressful stuff that was going on.
“There were a lot of times last year where I was only training once a week, if that.
“I’d wake up and just find little niggles, here-and-there injuries, and you can’t motivate yourself to get up and go.
“I don’t make any money out of the sport and I’m not sponsored, but I’m finding the love again.”