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Page last updated at 12:46 GMT, Wednesday, 9 July 2008 13:46 UK

Lemoncello desperate for Beijing

British athlete Andrew Lemoncello
Lemoncello missed out on the 2006 Commonwealth Games

British steeplechaser Andrew Lemoncello says competing at the Beijing Olympics would justify his decision to become a full-time athlete.

The 26-year-old Scot is preparing to take part in this weekend's Olympic trials in Birmingham.

"It would legitimise my decision to start running full-time and sacrificing a lot," he told BBC Scotland.

"It would mean that I'm taking the right direction in doing what I love. The Olympics is the pinnacle."

Lemoncello finished third in the 3,000m steeplechase at the European Cup in France last month and is hopeful of performing well in Birmingham.

"You've got to get in the first two at the trials and have run a couple of A standard times," he said. "I've run one A standard.

"I just want to get one of those first two slots and secure my ticket.

"Hopefully, I can go on and get the experience from it this year and go on four years later and really do something in London 2012.

"In our event, we've already had a miniature trial a couple of weeks ago where all the players were racing each other, so it was a little bit tense afterwards and before because we all knew what the situation was.

"I've never actually run down at Birmingham where the trials are taking place. It's quite a big stadium I think, so it should be interesting to see how everyone fairs with their nerves and feeling good on the day."

Sprinter Dwain Chambers' fight to have his ban from competing in the Olympics overturned has somewhat overshadowed the build-up to this weekend's trials.

But Lemoncello insists Britain's Beijing hopefuls are doing their best to ignore the hype.

"It's something that everyone's aware of, but they kind of want to stay away from it because no-one wants to be associated with that type of perspective," he said

"It's hard for other athletes because it's going against the rules of a sport that we love and it's getting tarnished by these cases and putting a bad image out there for the sport.

"It's quite frustrating sometimes, but there's nothing you personally can do apart from stay clean and compete to the best of your abilities.

"You just have to try get on with the sport and do it for the right reasons."

see also
Good showing by Scots at Euro Cup
22 Jun 08 |  Athletics

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