Bath Bullet backing Danny Talbot to continue his rise to top
Athens 2004 gold medallist Jason Gardener believes Danny Talbot is "in the driving seat" for a Team GB spot at London 2012.
The 21-year-old missed out on a place in the individual 200m at last summer's World Championships in Daegu, flopping at the trials despite leading the domestic rankings for much of the season.
A combination of injury niggles and studying for his finals at the University of Bath have restricted Talbot to just a couple of outings this season.
But he has won them both, clocking 20.71secs – just 0.01 outside his personal best – in Slovenia last Thursday before easing to victory in Sunday's Aviva England Athletics U20/U23 Championships & World Trials.
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And Bath Bullet Gardener is convinced that Talbot – who is coached by his old training partner, Dan Cossins – can cope with the pressure at this weekend's Olympic trials in Birmingham.
"After what he has done, there is now more pressure on his shoulders and he is still learning to cope with it all," said Lloyds TSB ambassador Gardener, who carried the Olympic Torch in his home city last month.
"That can take time to get used to, going from underdog to having expectation on your shoulders.
"But while it will be challenging to make this change, I expect Danny to pass the test with flying colours and complete his remarkable rise.
"It has been great to see Danny come through the ranks over the past year. From nowhere, he's now in the driving seat for London 2012.
"This should not be underestimated and it is a fantastic achievement to be on this trajectory at this young age.
"He seems to be timing his run to London 2012 to perfection but the real test is yet to come and he will know that. If he doesn't then he could be in trouble."
Talbot has needed injections to treat injuries in his hip and lower back during the past month but says he is going to the Alexander Stadium this weekend stronger than ever.
"Over the last eight weeks I've had some little niggles here and there but I ran my first event in a while in Slovenia and I'm feeling good," he added.
"I ran my second fastest time ever in both the 100m and 200m. I'm feeling in good shape and I'm ready."
And he has been given a great lift by the selectors after being picked to represent Britain in the 200m at next week's European Championships in Helsinki.
"It was nice to be picked for the Europeans because that means I can concentrate on winning the trials and then go to Helsinki the following week to get the qualifying time if I still need it," added Talbot.
"I am pleased with the position I am in and really looking forward to Sunday's race."
Talbot has also been included in the 4x100m relay squad for the Europeans, while Andrew Pozzi, Lawrence Clarke and William Sharman have been selected for the 110m hurdles.
Jack Green will compete in the 400m hurdles for a title won by training partner Dai Greene in Barcelona two years ago.
Eilidh Child will swap the hurdles for the flat after being named in the women's 4x400m relay squad and Bath graduate Marilyn Okoro has been selected for both the 400m and 800m.
Athletes will be de-selected if they qualify for London 2012 at this weekend's Aviva Trials, to ensure they focus their preparations on the Games.