SPRINTER Tremayne Gilling brought the curtain down on his 2011 season in star-studded style by rubbing shoulders with Jessica Ennis and Jenny Meadows at the UKA Awards Dinner in London on Saturday.
The 21-year-old former Croydon College student was a guest at the season finale dinner as part of the Spar Sprint Stars Programme.
Gilling endured an injury-hit summer, mainly to his quad, and as a result failed to achieve the main goal of his year – the European Under-23 Championships in the Czech Republic in July.
Gilling's legal season's best of 10.55seconds, ran in Switzerland in May, was also exactly 0.3 shy of his personal best ran last year – but Gilling is adamant he will learn from his setbacks.
"In a way I am happy with my season because I learnt a lot, it didn't go to plan and I had a lot of injuries, but I've learnt a lot from those injuries, and used it to better myself for the season coming," said Gilling
"I'm learning about how my body works. I've had quite a few injuries, training would be going well and then I get hit with an injury. It gets you mentally, but then you have to stay strong and bounce back.
"I've spoken with my coach about what we need to do next season, we've put in stuff which got forgotten last year. The first aim is the indoor season and then we will see what happens afterwards.
"We're going to be smart and only race when we need to race, because of my body. I'm not thinking about the pressure on me too much. I know what I've got to do to perform and that's what I'm aiming for."
And, while Gilling didn't travel to Ostrava for the European Under-23s – he did travel to Paris for a private look at the senior indoor equivalent back in March as part of the Spar Sprints Stars Programme.
And Gilling, a former Sutton & District AC sprinter, pin-pointed that experience as another learning curve as he looks to take more steps forward than he does back over the next 12 months.
"Going to Paris was a really good experience and I learnt about what athletes do at that top level. I'd never been to an event like that before and just seeing that and taking it all in helps you to prepare," he added. "I've also really enjoyed being on the Spar programme. I've learnt from my trip to Paris and it will all help in the future."
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