Tokyo Olympics: Twin sister backs Sam Atkin for future success

Sam Atkin
Sam Atkin was a talented footballer and tennis player before focusing on athletics

The twin sister of Team GB 10,000m runner Sam Atkin has backed him to bounce back from his Tokyo disappointment at the next Olympics.

Atkin was advised to quit athletics at the age of 17 because of a foot problem called Freiberg’s disease.

“I can guarantee he’s going to be back at the Olympics in three years,” sister Jen told BBC Radio Lincolnshire.

“He may not have finished the race, he may not have got a medal, but he’s still there at the Olympics and I can’t imagine what an experience that would have been.”

Atkin and Marc Scott – who finished 14th – represented Britain in Tokyo after defending champion and four-time Olympic gold medallist, Mo Farah failed to achieve the qualifying time.

The 28-year-old, who grew up in Ulceby near Grimsby, is a member of Lincoln Wellington Athletics Club, but trains in the United States.

He is the fourth-fastest Briton over 10,000m, with a time of 27:26.58 run in California last year.

Jen Atkin
Jen Atkin watched brother Sam’s race with their parents

Jen is the reigning Miss Great Britain, having won the title last year after losing eight stone (50kg) in a battle against obesity.

Before the race, she predicted he would one day become a “worldwide name” but afterwards revealed he had picked up an injury while in Tokyo and had to train on a bike instead of running.

“It was so hard watching that race, he was getting spiked left, right and centre. Unfortunately, he got right in the middle of the pack where people were pushing him about a bit,” she said.

“At one point, he was in fifth place, he was absolutely smashing it – but it’s a tough race and I still think he’s done us incredibly proud.”

‘Just one little race in Tokyo’

Jen said she would have travelled to Japan to support her brother, were it not for the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.

“I can’t imagine doing a race like that with no supporters and no screaming crowd in the stands, it’s a shame,” she continued.

“This is just the beginning. He will definitely be back and this isn’t his usual race, he usually runs 5,000m, so to go into the 10k with an Olympic standard and still go for it and give it his all, I’m so proud of him.

“He’s got so many more opportunities ahead of him. This is just one little race in Tokyo. I just know there’s more to come.

“We all learn from experiences and he’ll definitely learn from this one. I think the humidity and the conditions there may have got to him a little bit and it doesn’t help being booted.

“He’ll definitely be back at another Olympics, I know he will.”

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