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Olympics come Holme

PUBLISHED: 13:13 13 August 2010 | UPDATED: 13:35 13 August 2010

Three-time Olympic medal winner Dame Kelly Holmes has hailed British athletes' recent medal haul at the European Championships and says it bodes well for London 2012.

UK athletes took 19 medals, second only to Russia’s 26, when the European Championships ended on Sunday.

The result is going down well in the sports world as it gears up for the London Games in 2012 and, speaking exclusively to the Times on Tuesday, Dame Kelly paid tribute to the team.

The 40-year-old retired middle distance runner said that South East London and North Kent, which host a number of Olympic training venues, including the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, are at the forefront of preparation for the Games.

She said: “It has been a difficult summer for British sport, so to come away with that amount of medals is fantastic. Athletics as a sport hasn’t been doing too well over the last few years, but we’re fighting back again.

“More than anything it gives athletes the thought that they can win and perform well. That’s the big battle, really, because these games are so daunting, it’s important to have the right attitude as much as anything.”

Dame Kelly, who caught the world’s attention when she turned in a double gold medal-winning performance at the Athens Olympics in 2004, adding to her bronze at 2000’s Sydney Olympics, is now London Mayor Boris Johnson’s 2012 sport’s advisor.

She said: “North Kent and South East London is definitely a big part of the Games. We’re the closest county, outside London, to the Games, we have training grounds here and people will be travelling through North Kent on the Javelin train, so the buzz very much spreads to these areas.

“It is a massive boost for the area. And it’s so important to have inspiring people you can look up to. You have to see achievement to believe it’s possible.”

The 20th year of the championships saw events including discus, javelin, pole vault, hurdles, long jump and running.

British achievements include Mo Farah and Chris Thompson scooping gold and silver in the men’s 10,000 metres, Mark Lewis-Frances bagging silver in the 100 metres, with team mate Dwain Chambers finishing in fifth place.

Visit www.doublegold.co.uk and www.dkhlegacytrust.org/dkh-p-home for more information on Dame Kelly’s activities.

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