Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Back to Square One


On top of the world after claiming Olympic bronze three summers ago, 400m hurdler Tasha Danvers is currently trying to salvage her career in time for London 2012, after surgery and two years virtually out of the sport, writes Nicola Bamford.

The 33-year-old shot to second on the British all-time list with a 53.84 clocking in the 2008 Beijing Games but the following two years were plagued with career-threatening injuries to her Achilles.

Competing in the occasional 800m race and achieving a best of only 55.19 in the 2009 season, Danvers also suffered from hamstring issues and the breakdown of her marriage to her former coach Darrell Smith as well.

Racing only once in 2010 when clocking 56.44 in France, the mother-of-one still managed to climb to third on the British rankings for the year but injury struck again, this time resulting in surgery.

“Training’s not too bad - I’m getting back from my Achilles surgery last winter,” Danvers explains.

“I’ve done a lot of rehab but I’m sprinting in moderation at the moment. I want to do whatever’s sensible.”


Having left her former LA base to join Malcolm Arnold’s training group in Bath, Danvers now trains alongside European and Commonwealth 400m hurdles champion Dai
Greene and a plethora of international hurdlers in her quest to return to fitness.

A former 12.96 100m hurdler, Danvers will train in Italy this spring but is cautious as to when she may even think about beginning to race again:

“I just want to stay in shape and see how far I can go,” she reveals.

“It’s great with Malcolm and training with Dai is inspirational after all’s he has achieved recently.”

In her absence from the athletics scene over the past two-and-a-half years, the female domestic one-lap hurdling scene has thrived, with European bronze-medallist Perri Shakes-Drayton and Commonwealth silver-medallist Eilidh Child leading the way.

“It’s brilliant we’ve got a lot of young girls like Perri and Eilidh coming through and carrying the baton on very well,” Danvers explains.

Usually known for her outgoing nature and off-the-wall fashion statements on and off the track, Danvers appears a little despondent with the sport and considering her luck of late, it is somewhat understandable.

“I hope my son goes into football not athletics,” she reveals.

“I love it but it’s tough.”

Having survived a two-year injury nightmare, it is the thought of the Olympic Games in London next year which has kept Danvers motivated through the dark days.

And if she can find consistency in both her health and training, then this athlete of thirteen years’ international experience could well bounce back for one glorious last hurrah next summer.

“2012 will be an excellent opportunity if I can keep everything aligned well,” Danvers explains.

“I want to give it my best but take each day as it comes.”

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