A WALLSEND athlete aiming to make the London Olympics has received a ringing endorsement from one of the sport’s legends.
Unlike the majority of the British athletics community, former Olympic silver medallist Steve Cram has not been surprised by Ross Murray’s meteoric rise from London 2012 nobody to Games shoo-in.
But the Jarrow Arrow has warned the Wallsend youngster his breakthrough outdoor season will mean nothing if he does not back it up by completing the job at the Olympic Trials this weekend.
A home Games is widely credited for helping athletes find something extra in their training and Murray might just be the best example of such claims.
The 21-year-old nearly quit the sport last summer due to a host of injuries but has returned stronger than ever and is one of just two of the realistic GB contenders for 1500m berths this summer to have run the Olympic a-standard.
And, despite Murray’s protestations otherwise, Cram – who also revealed he had a big hand in helping him bag the Olympic standard – believes the remarkable turnaround is a result of the Wallsend ace growing up in 2012.
Cram insists he has never doubted Murray’s ability but has urged the Wallsend ace not to get too far ahead of himself this weekend.
“I have watched Ross for a long time because he used to run against my son and the two of them have done a few meets together,” said Cram, speaking at the Yorkshire International Business Convention on behalf of Yorkshire Bank.
“And I have seen him this year and I have definitely noticed a difference. He is a big talent but he has not always been doing the things that he needed to do to make it.
“He’s taken a while to understand that, he hasn’t always helped himself. He’s always a great lad to have around but he has got a bit more focused this year.
“I saw him at BMC meet in May and he was running so well that I pulled a few strings to get him into the race in Hengelo because I knew he could run a fast time there in a good race and he did that and got the a-standard.
“But he has got to back that up and the next bit is obviously getting through the trials.”
With an ‘A’ standard in the bag to do just that, Murray needs to finish in the top two at the trials and an Olympic spot will be his.
Mo Farah and Andy Baddeley are the only two other Brits with a-standards and with Farah concentrating on the 5,000 and 10,000m, and other main rival James Shane injured, things look rosy for Murray.
Cram concurs that Murray is in a position of strength but offered one note of caution in the shape of Murray’s inexperience.
The 21-year-old has never finished on the podium at a summer outdoor AAAs and Cram added: “Ross is a little bit inexperienced at that higher level.
“James Shane is injured and is not going to be there so I think as long as he runs well then he has a very good chance.”
Steve Cram is an ambassador for Yorkshire Bank, who are bringing local communities together to encourage relationships and business growth. Visit www.ybonline.co.uk