Story by: ROB SETCHELL, Reporter
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
COMMONWEALTH heptathlon champion Louise Hazel has underlined her determination to warm up for London 2012 in style with a bold showing at the World Championships.
Hazel, from March, ran a season’s best in the 100m hurdles at the Aviva National Championships in Birmingham at the weekend but was disappointed with her efforts in the long jump and javelin.
The 25-year-old will compete over hurdles again in the Crystal Palace Grand Prix tomorrow and also hopes to enter a shot putt competition before heading out to Daegu, in South Korea, for the World Championships.
“Everyone wants to go to the World Championships and do well,” said Hazel. “It’s a sign of practice before London and you’ve got to prove that you’re in form.
“There’s no major pressure. It’s really about sending a message that you’re ready.”
Hazel, who won Commonwealth gold in Melbourne last October, moved one step closer to securing her place at the Olympics by reaching the qualifying score of 6166 in Ratingen, Germany, last month.
She was the second woman to meet the standard after Sheffield’s Jessica Ennis - and Hazel said that with a lot of the spotlight on her team-mate, she was able to fully concentrate on her own bid for glory at London 2012.
“The pressure is not on and being the underdog is a benefit for me,” she said. “I get lots and lots of support from people and most importantly I get to focus on my own performance.
“The Olympics is only 12 months away and you can just feel all the hype starting to build. All eyes will be on London and it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for all the British athletes. Everyone will want to make their mark.”
Hazel, a former student at Neale-Wade Community College, became the first person to be granted the freedom of March after her Commonwealth success.
• The World Championships start on August 27, while the opening ceremony of the London Games will take place on July 27 next year.