Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
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Martyn Rooney at Croydon July 2009

MARTYN ROONEY (Born 3rd of April 1987. A devoted Croydon Harrier from the start. Studied at Loughborough University)
Rooney is one of the United Kingdom's most promising athletes of the future, being only 21 years old last year he had some great results.

   Although he showed ability before that time with things like an individual bronze in the World Junior Championships in 2006, he did not show till last year he could be a contender amongst the World Class over 400m till he ran inside  45.00.for the first time in 2008.
   At Crystal Palace last year at the Grand Prix on the 26th of July 2008 he won a 400 race in 44.83 and beat Tyler Christopher (45.29) and 2008 Olympic bronze medallist David Neville in the process
   " It was a fairly solid field. Tyler Christopher was World Indoor Champion and David Neville came third in the Olympics and David Gillick, the Irish 400 runner was in the field. I needed to be in a field like that and I was unbeaten all last year until the Olympic Semi-Final. I hadn't raced that quality I needed to race against before Crystal Palace. That was the first time I raced against people who wanted to win and run 44's. There was a massive difference between the level of competition and how they put their race together better and it set me up perfectly'
   'To be a runner inside 45 seconds is all important for good international class-running ' I ran my PB in the Olympic Semi-Final in Beijing.
(1 La Shawn Merritt the Olympic Champion 44.12, 2 Martyn Rooney 44.60). 'It's amazing, I loved that race. In the Olympics I did not put a race together at all but I ran quick. I wanted to make the Final and made the Final. The Final was not a great experience I did not run very well (45.12 in 6th place).
   Rooney also distinguished himself on the last leg of the 4x400 really taking the UK up to fourth place (2:58.81-Andrew Steele, Robert Tobin, Michael Bingham,Martyn Rooney- 43.73).
   This year he was gradually coming back from injury and ran 45.63 behind Michal Bingham's 45.03 at the Crystal Palace Grand Prix in July (2009).
   He points out positively about the future and although he respects the other athletes who will compete against him he says " I think for me I go into a race to win it. I am inspired by medals. I think that is case since I was young. I would not go to the World Championships in Berlin because I was just going to be a competitor'.
   That optimism will take him forward barring injuries ' I would like to get 3 Olympic Games in so that would be 2012 and 2016 as I have been in one. I probably could even get another three Olympics in I think!'
   How did it all begin for Martyn Rooney . I started cross country in primary school race but I never took athletics seriously till I was 16-17'
   'I  was always doing it alongside other sports like rugby. I played rugby for John Fisher School. I was too skinny to play rugby. My athletics was going well so, I said right I'll focus on that. I met my present coach MIKE FLEET  when I was at Croydon when I was between 10 and 11 (Alastair Aitken points out he had known Mike Fleet right from before the days they both did the National cross country together. He remembers Mike Fleet ran 1:48.7 winning an 800m in London on the 14th of September 1963 and that was his best that year and, the same time as International Chris Carter did that year also, he remembers seeing Olympic 800m Champion Peter  Snell running on the White City cinders, as a guest in the 880 yards and winning in 1:48.4. In that race at the White City was a 'Rhineland Cities v London match' and Mike Fleet was only just pipped by a German at the finish for first in the match but ran 1:49.9 and was the first London athlete in the race).
'' I was in a very fortunate situation' said Martyn Rooney ' I was training with a lot of older  athletes who were 4 or 5 years older than me.'
Regarding Mike Fleet " He was competing at a high level. I was initially an 800/1500 runner (1:50.55 for 800 in 2005) so I was in a perfect situation. he knew what he was talking about.'
   When did Martyn Rooney decide the 400 was his event then
   "I did a couple of 400's for the club just to fill in for the league matches. I was 17 at the Surrey Championships and I won the 800 and in the 400 I ran 47.6, which at the time was faster than the English schools were won in so, we decided to focus on that. I had a couple of  800's and a 1500 that year but mainly stuck with the 400 that season'
   ' I love what I do. I love competing in athletics. I am very fortunate my parents are a massive support and I would not be doing it without  their support'
   That is coming from Martyn Rooney, a likeable and friendly character, who hopefully will have along career as a 'Great' British performer.

Alastair Aitken

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