BRITAIN’S London 2012 football team have recruited one of the country’s most successful Olympians to advise them on how to cope with the demands of competing in their first Games -- double gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes.
Liverpool forward Craig Bellamy revealed last night that the middle distance running great, who tasted glory in both the 800m and 1500m at Athens in 2004, yesterday gave Stuart Pearce’s 18-man squad a timely and illuminating pep talk.
The footballers were among those Team GB athletes who moved into the Olympic Village on Monday as preparations stepped up across thecapital and Games venues for the start of competition next week.
“We’ve just had the privilege of meeting Dame Kelly Holmes, and she gave us a chat on what to expect looking forward to these Olympics. It is new to us,” said Bellamy, one of Pearce’s three designated overage picks in a squad otherwise aged 23 or under.
“She just told us to enjoy the experience. It’s a lot different to what we are used to as footballers, there’s a lot more going on here -- meetings; you have to be a lot more patient; you eat with every single other athlete. It all adds to the experience.
“[Her advice] is basically to enjoy it and embrace that, go and speak to the other athletes, ask how they are, and just be part of this Great Britain experience of all trying to get medals, all trying to do as well as we can for Great Britain.”
Team GB, who lost their first match together 1-0 to Mexico behind closed doors at their Spanish training camp on Sunday, take on Brazil in their second and final warm-up match on Friday in Middlesbrough.
Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge remains a fitness worry, having only joined the squad yesterday following a bout of meningitis, and Pearce admits he may have to replace him before the first London 2012 fixture on Thursday 26 July if he struggles this week.
“We’ll have a look at what happens in the lead-up to Friday’s game, which will be the real indicator for me to gauge his fitness,” said Pearce.
•AMERICAN 400m hurdler Kerron Clement vented his spleen on Twitter yesterday, claiming the bus taking he and team-mates to the Olympic Village had got “lost”, causing a four-hour delay. The two-time world champion wrote: “Um [sic], so we’ve been lost on the road for 4hrs. Not a good first impression London. Athletes are sleepy, hungry and need to pee. Could we get to the Olympic Village please.”