Sports awards: Speedster Emadi on track for great things
KIAN Emadi was just too young to jump into the saddle for Britain's cycling gold rush at last summer's London Olympics.
But that didn't stop the 20-year-old Potteries racer having gold wrapped round his neck during a wonderful 2012.
And 2013 kicked off in thrilling fashion, too, after winning a call-up to the senior British squad and taking part in last week's world indoor cycling championships in Belarus.
The son of an Iranian father and American mother, Emadi is certainly justifying his decision to opt for cycling ahead of university at a recent crossroads in his young life.
Gold for Emadi last year came at the senior national track championships in Manchester in September.
His victory was all the more laudable after he hit a knee on his handlebars and almost came off in full flight.
Despite that wobble, however, he still completed the kilo in 1:02:435 to record a time which would have placed him just outside the top 10 at the 2012 world championships.
Then, in October, he won silver when representing Britain in a World Cup event in Columbia.
He went through in a personal best time of 1.01.368 – clocking the fastest single lap of the entire competition in the process.
Talking of laps, and a little closer to home, Emadi also smashed the track record at Newcastle's Lyme Valley stadium in September when crossing the line in 10.88 seconds to beat the 10.95 record held by double Olympic gold medallist Jason Kenny.
Emadi may have missed out on the London games, but they still served as a major inspiration.
"I couldn't get tickets for the Olympics so I watched at home and got pretty inspired," he says, "especially on the team sprint night when the men won gold and broke the world record twice.
"These were guys I knew a bit and trained with sometimes. I also used to share a flat with Philip Hindes, and there he was winning Olympic gold.
"It all became very real, obtainable if you like, and I've been working with a purpose ever since.
"I've been making major strides since last summer. The competition has driven me on. Now I want to repay the coaches' faith in me by delivering a really good ride at the top level."
His mother, Barbara, is more than happy to nominate Emadi in the Senior Individual category of The Sentinel/City of Stoke on Trent Sports Personality of the Year awards after observing his progress on two wheels from a very early age. She says: "We are really proud of Kian for taking a big step up to international competition at the senior level.
"He had to work very hard this year to get there, but he has received recognition for his efforts in 2012 by his selection for senior international events.
"We know all elite athletes work hard, but when you compare these athletes to other people you realise how dedicated they really are.
"Few people have jobs where they are assessed six days-a-week on their performance.
"We are proud of him not just for this year alone, but for all the work, dedication and sacrifice he has put into his cycling since the time he was 14 and first entered the Olympic Talent Programme."
And with half-an-eye on the future, she added: "Kian is hoping to continue to progress with the senior team to Rio 2016. This would involve developing further as a sprinter – 20 is very young – and continuing to be selected for international competition in this Olympic cycle.
"I am confident Kian has the dedication to achieve this and that his results will improve as he gets older, stronger and more experienced."
The early signs are promising.