A FORMER national high jump coach has slammed Solihull youngsters for being too interested in ipods and mobile phones than dreaming of winning Olympic gold.
Mike Dolby from Monkspath was speaking out after Team GB returned from Beijing with an unprecendented 19 gold medals.
"I deal with children from all over England, and there are very few rising stars in Solihull," said the 66-year-old, who still teaches up and coming athletes.
"People come from inner city Birmingham and Coventry areas with far more determination but in Solihull it's more about mobile phones and ipods.
"I know what it takes to be a champion, and you don't get many from Solihull."
And Mike, who spends hours at Tudor Grange Leisure Centre and Arden School training youngsters, feels it's not just local children who are to blame.
"My neighbours see me going to the track every day and think I'm mad. But without hard work you don't get anywhere," he said.
During his 30 years of training in Solihull Mike has coached 16 international high jumpers, and proudly speaks of his eight years honing Hall Green high jump ace Tom Parsons.
The 23-year-old Birchfield Harrier finished eighth in this year's Olympic finals.
He also believes it takes true dedication to get anywhere near the medals at the Games.
"The Africans are controlling the mid-long distance races while USA and Jamaica continue to dominate in the sprints.
"It's tough winning medals when competitors from over 200 countries take part."
The former Moor Green footballer loves his sport and wishes more of it was included in the school timetable.
"Arden and Solihull are the only two schools that run a full-time athletics programme so how can the kids progress in sport at other schools? GCSE results, and part-time jobs are more important these days. We've got no chance with athletics in Solihull."
* What do you think? Is Mike Dolby correct about Solihull youngsters? Write in and let us know.