Bolton backing Jason Kenny as he goes for Gold again
4:50pm Monday 6th August 2012 in News
THE eyes of Great Britain are being focused on Bolton golden boy Jason Kenny after he gained his place in the final of the individual sprint.
Jason, Bolton’s first double gold medallist, will be going for the hat-trick when he takes part in the individual sprint for Team GB after being chosen over Sir Chris Hoy.
Kenny takes to the track with the town’s full backing, as people, from the vicar of Bolton Parish Church to politicians, believe he can step back on the podium to claim his third Olympic medal.
Last night, Kenny earned a place in the semi-finals as he powered through his quarter final, beating Azizulhasni Awang. His arch rival, world champion Gregory Bauge, from France, also qualified with ease.
The sprint semi-finals began at 4pm today and Kenny came through with flying colours. The final is scheduled to start at 5.43pm.
Kenny had also been impressive in his opening ride in the 200-metre time trial on Saturday, which saw him chop 0.12 seconds off Sir Chris Hoy’s record set in 2008, stopping the clock at 9.713 seconds.
Among the hoards of fans at the London Velodrome will be proud father, Michael Kenny.
He said: “It’s so far, so good and I’m confident Jason will do as well as he possibly can. It’s going to be so tense for the whole family. We never get used to situations like these and it’s probably more nerve-racking for us.
“He never discusses where he might finish and I don’t want to make predictions either. But we’ll be cheering him on and our fingers are crossed.”
Bolton Council is already drawing up plans for a civic reception to celebrate his gold medal triumph last week in the Team Sprint.
The 24-year-old, from Farnworth, along with team-mates Sir Chris Hoy and Philip Hindes, smashed the world record they set in qualifying as they defended their title against France on Thursday evening.
Sean Harriss, Chief Executive of Bolton Council , said: “Congratulations to Jason Kenny on this brilliant gold medal win, following the gold he achieved in Beijing. This is a fantastic achievement for this young Boltonian, we are all very proud of him and we will be formally recognising his achievements once the games have finished.”
Deputy Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Noel Spencer, said: “I have met Jason and his family on a number of occasions, and he deserves a medal.
“He has put in an awful lot of time and effort in preparing for the Olympics. It would be absolutely wonderful if he won, but any medal would be great given the fierceness of the competition.
“I will be watching him on television and praying that everything comes good for him.”
Cllr Spencer, who lives in Kenny’s home town, said: “It has been a special year for the country with the Jubilee and the Olympics. It really is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion and for Jason to be part of that and to put to us on the map is wonderful.
“He is such an inspiration to the young people of the town.”
Deputy leader of Bolton Conservative Party, Cllr Andy Morgan said: “I will be watching Jason and the whole of Bolton will be rooting for him.
“He is the latest in a long line of sporting heroes from our town.
“I think he can do it, he looks like a different athlete and he can do it on the back of having won a gold medal already in the Games.”
Rod Bradshaw , chairman of cycling club Bolton Hot Wheels, said: “Jason Kenny is the up-and-coming star of British cycling.
“The halo has shone around Sir Chris Hoy, who is still formidable, but Jason has been pushing quite hard over the past 12 months or so. I think Jason will do it. He was chosen over Sir Chris Hoy because it is thought he is the better bet.
“The British cycling team is all fired up due to recent successes and I think Jason will be on that podium, whether or not he gets gold.”
Bolton South-East MP Yasmin Qureshi said: “Huge congratulations to Jason Kenny on his gold medal in the team sprint. His home town is very proud of him. Very best wishes for more success in the individual sprint — another gold would be fantastic!”
Vicar of Bolton the Rev Matt Thomspon said: “Of course he can do it!
“What he did on Thursday was amazing, and everyone in Bolton will be proud of what he had done.
“He won gold, set another world record and did it in London.
“He has it in himself to do it again.”
Paul Roach, headteacher of Kenny’s former school, Mount St Joseph, said: “I will be glued to the television.
“I think he will be very successful, he has a very good chance of getting the gold medal, but without a shadow of a doubt he will be on the podium.”
He added: “Jason is a great role model to our pupils, he shows what hard work and dedication can achieve. He has visited the school and spoken to the children, so they get to see and meet the person who they see compete and who is in the paper.”