Cape Town - Now that Luxolo Adams has tasted top-flight athletics, the young sprinter wants to use the experience gained in his breakthrough season to mount a serious challenge on the top dogs next season.
The 22-year-old made the Diamond League final in his debut campaign in the lucrative International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) one-day international track and field competition.
His best league finish was at the Stockholm leg in June, where he came third against the same field that conquered him in the final in Zurich, Switzerland, on Thursday.
He faced world champion Ramil Guliyev, the Turkish speed merchant who beat Wayde van Niekerk to the global championships 200m gold in London last year.
"What I learnt the most is that if I commit myself to something, there will be benefits," Adams said shortly after he placed seventh in the 200m final on Thursday.
"The race was not easy, but, in the end, I did my best. It was a long season and a very tough one because this was my first European season.
"I just give glory to God that I’ve been free of injuries in all those races. I just need to go back and reflect," Adams said.
The beanpole sprinter from Burgersdorp in the Eastern Cape is already hyped for the new season.
"Coming from a disadvantaged area and making it to this level, there are sacrifices you need to make - like leaving your family behind - and you go through some emotions as well.
"I've learnt a lot and next season is going to be a superb one. It’s the year of the world champs," he said, referring to next year's IAAF World Championships in Doha.
Adams said South Africa's having a historic nine athletes in the league finals in Zurich and Brussels, Belgium, this week was a sign that the sport was growing in the country.
"I'm proud to be part of this history. Everyone is coming into the international circuit. It means we are raising the bar," he said.
"I've got no more words to describe how I feel right now. I'd like to thank my coach, Gerrie Posthumus, and the federation (Athletics SA) for the opportunity."
His performances on the domestic front unlocked international opportunities for Adams.
He had a remarkable season, launching himself as local athletics’ newest star by claiming the SA Senior Championships title in a personal best time of 20.01 seconds in Pretoria in March.
In the same month, he went on to defeat Anaso Jobodwana in the inaugural Athletix grand prix series meeting in the 200m final in Paarl in the Western Cape.
Adams also held off American ace Justin Gatlin for a second place in the 150m of the same competition that was won by Jobodwana.
These performances were key to his getting an invitation to the opening league meeting in Doha next May.
Where has he been all along?
"It was a lack of opportunities where I come from," he said.
"I didn't start running now. I started from the lower grades (and worked) my way up. I had to sacrifice my family and move to Port Elizabeth to look for opportunities."
Adams now boasts a silver medal from the inaugural Athletics World Cup in London in July and a bronze medal from the African Senior Championships in Nigeria last month.