Ross planning for Rio 2016 after an impressive debut

Wallsend's Ross Murray celebrates making it through to the semi final of the Men's 1500m at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Wallsend's Ross Murray celebrates making it through to the semi final of the Men's 1500m at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

WALLSEND’S latest athletics star is already planning for the future after making an impressive debut in the Olympic Games.

Ross Murray caught the eye of the nation after making it through to the semi-finals of the 1500m at London 2012.

And less than a year after almost giving up on his Olympic dream due to consistent injuries, he is now planning his bid to make it to the 1500m final at Rio 2016 in Brazil.

The Gateshead Harrier is now even more determined to make the most of the experience of competing in front of thousands of people, with millions more watching at home.

“It was unbelievable running in front of 80,000 people,” Ross told the News Guardian.

“When I was warming up on the track I just stood there to take it all in.

“There was all those people and you’ve just got to enjoy the moment otherwise it might never happen again.

“I’ve got my sights set on Rio. If that’s how I could do after seven months training, what could I do after four years training?”

The 21-year-old impressed a lot of people, including former track stars and now television commentators Steve Cram and Brendan Foster, with his performance in the first heat last Friday.

He finished fourth in a strong field just behind former Olympic champion Asbrel Kiprop and eventual gold medallist Taoifik Makhloufi.

But on Sunday, in a strong semi-final line-up which again included Kiprop and Makhloufi, he was run out of a place in the final, finishing tenth.

Ross said: “I thought I could have made the final, my semi-final was a bit slower than the other one, but I think I was a little bit more tired than the others and it might have shown in the last few hundred metres, I’m just not strong enough.”

And speaking to the BBC after his elimination, he admitted: “I’ve only been training for the last six or seven months and on the lash two years before that.”

However, the experience has given Ross the impetus to work and train harder, just a year after persistent injuries left his body weak and him considering turning his back on athletics and becoming a holiday rep.

“I’m going to train even harder, have a better lifestyle and really go for it,” he said.

“The guys I was up against have years of experience and probably run more than 100 miles a week, I was only running 60 miles a week in the build up.

“Even if my athletics career is just for this year, I would never regret it. To say I’m an Olympian is massive.

“I’ll continue my training down in London, increasing my mileage and doing more sessions.”

There was a lot of support for Ross in his home town with the Rosehill Tavern decking its outside wall in a large Union Jack flag featuring his face, while regulars – some wearing ‘Team Murray’ t-shirts – packed out the pub to cheer him on during his heat and semi-final.

And there was also support from his first running club, Wallsend Harriers, where members gathered in the clubhouse to cheer him on.

Ross also had his mother Bev Gosling, her partner, his father and his brother cheering him on from the stands at the Olympic Stadium, although he was unable to meet up with them after his races.

“My mam understood that I had to recover and rest after the races but I’ll be back home after the Games,” he said. “I’m hoping for a good reception.

“Everyone has been really nice. Even though I didn’t qualify for the final, my family and friends have sent nice messages and been supportive. They knew I would be disappointed.”

And he has also become a hit on social networking site Twitter, with his follower count increasing as the Games progressed and receiving supportive messages from ex-footballer Vinnie Jones, model Nicola McLean and banter with comedian Frankie Boyle, among others.

“I’m still just the normal Geordie lad, I can never change that,” he added.

“I would like to say a massive thank you to the support I’ve had from family, friends and others.

“I really appreciate it, everyone has been fantastic.”