Spar Sprint Stars learn lessons from Paris adventure
A TRIP to Disneyland Paris may have brought the curtain down on the Spar Sprint Stars' weekend but stepping out onto the track at the European Indoor Championships meant that, for ten Olympic hopefuls, the fairytale wouldn't end there.
READY TO GO: Members of the Spar Sprints Star squad gather under the Olympic rings at St Pancras station prior to their trip on the Eurostar to watch the European Indoor Championships (Sportsbeat)
A brisk ten-minute stroll through a picturesque Parisian park to the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy set the Spar Sprints Stars up perfectly for a day in which they dared to dream.
After their group photograph outside was gatecrashed by a certain UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee - who wished them well on his way past - the team were given an all-encompassing tour of the stadium.
Earlier that day, the ten sprint fledglings were treated to valuable words of wisdom from Olympic silver medallist Iwan Thomas and UKA coaches Jared Deacon, Tony Lester and Fuzz Ahmed.
But what followed took the Spar Sprint Stars from hearing the voices of experience to taking the same footsteps that senior athletes have at this major international competition.
"It makes you want to come right back here and actually compete," said speedster Danny Talbot, as the tour drew to a conclusion.
They walked from the warm-up area through to the press conference room - where David Bolarinwa gave a victory speech - they eyed up a gold medal, and even climbed the podium, a moment which evoked memories of Delhi 2010 for Meghan Beesley.
"I remember being in a lot more pain last time," joked the Commonwealth Games silver medallist. "But I wouldn't mind coming back here some time and standing on it for real."
To complete the journey, they even got to walk out into the middle of the arena for a quick photoshoot between events.
"I can't imagine how nervous I'd be to compete in front of a crowd this big," marvelled Deji Tobais.
"Can you imagine how much bigger and louder it'll be in London?" replied 200m star Kieran Showler-Davis - an opinion clearly shared by his fellow awe-struck sprint stars.
Of course, there also was the spectacle of the athletics, and a lavish VIP banquet at the home of Mickey Mouse himself - but it was clear in the eyes of these Olympic dreamers that their fairytale will carry on, at least, until the summer of 2012.