Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Woman on a Mission


After agonisingly missing out on the world 1500m title two years ago, Lisa Dobriskey has made some key changes to ensure that she goes one better in the global championships later this summer, writes Nicola Bamford.

This winter, the 27-year-old has followed doctors’ orders by training through the indoor racing season and in a surprising twist, has also split from her long-term coach to be guided by her husband.

Although an amicable split - with former mentor George Gandy still acting as her adviser, Dobriskey is now guided by the man she married fifteen months ago – 2004 Olympic 800m semi-finalist Ricky Soos.

Based at the Loughborough University High Performance Centre, the duo are sticking to the same formula which took Dobriskey to world silver in 2009 and are content with the new set-up:

“Ricky’s had a big impact on my training for the past couple of years anyway and we’ll be absolutely fine,” she explains.

“We’ll follow a similar plan. I’m really excited as I’m progressing well – I always
used to struggle this time of year but I’m still being quite cautious.”


It is highly understandable that Britain’s top metric miler for the past three seasons is wary, for barely a season goes by without an injury rearing its ugly head and at the most inappropriate of times.

The latest in a long line of well-documented issues was a problem with her left hip – striking only five days after a promising 2:00.14 800m lifetime best in London last August, whilst racing in Zurich.

There, in the IAAF Diamond League race, Dobriskey not only lost a shoe but also the chance to compete in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October – the event which she won in 2006 to cement her breakthrough on the senior international stage.

However, following yet another winter of rehabilitation and a training camp in South Africa, the eleven-time national 800m-3,000m champion is back to running pain-free:

“Training’s going really well. Missing the indoors was really hard as I really enjoying it but I’m being sensible,” Dobriskey reveals.

“I’m so fragile in the lower-back area and I pushed too far last year so I had the problems for quite a long time afterwards.

Consistency’s the key for 2012. I’ve built up my winter slowly and I’ve been on the rise again since Christmas. I’ve done a lot of base and technical work to improve my biomechanics to stay away from injury.”


Following a slightly below-par 2010 campaign, it is imperative for the nation’s number-two all-time runner to establish herself again on the world scene this summer if she has any chance of glory in the London Olympics come 2012.

With a year’s best of 3:59.79 from Paris last July, Dobriskey was hotly tipped for a continental victory at the European Championships a fortnight later but running a tactically poor race in the final, she finished a disappointing fourth in 4:01.54.

The frustration also followed only a third place-finish in the UK championships a month earlier, leaving the Loughborough University graduate despondent:

“Overall, 2010 was so disappointing,” Dobriskey explains.

“I should have done better in everything but ended up in a massive panic with the injuries so it was a disaster, especially after having high hopes but I’ve learnt about tactics and other things to work on.”


As the famous saying goes ‘what doesn’t hurt you, will make you stronger’ and it is this mindset that Dobriskey has taken on ahead of her attempt at returning to world-class status this summer.

With a personal best of 3:59.50 from the 2009 season, she has her sights set on double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes’ seven-year-old British record of 3:57.90 but first, the priority is on gaining revenge at the World Championship event in
Daegu, South Korea:

“Obviously, the World’s is very important to me, especially after missing out on
gold by just 1/100th of a second last time,” reveals Dobriskey.

“I really want to progress after a year of injury. I’ve done 3:59 a few times and I feel I need to do that more and go quicker to bridge the gap, that’s my goal.

I need to go one better and win the title by raising my game to reach my potential.
I’ve been too cautious and a little negative in the past so I’ve changed that this year.”

Returning for another training stint in South Africa in May, Dobriskey intends to open her season with a couple of low-key 1500m races before tackling the Rome leg of the IAAF Diamond League in May.

“Even the (World) trials are very competitive,” she explains on the topic of July’s UK Championships.

“It’s so good to be part of such a strong contingent of athletes in this country. It’s tough but it prepares you for the world stage.”

Not only eager to upgrade her global silver from Berlin two years ago, Dobriskey is additionally even more determined to improve on her fourth place from the 2008 Beijing Olympics when she takes to London’s new Olympic stadium next August:

“It’s really exciting and after finishing fourth last time, I really want to at
least get a medal – you have to use the home advantage,” she reveals.

“The Olympics is so special being on home soil but it’s scary too, dealing with the pressure – people like to hang the medal around your neck before you’re even there but I can cope with that through past experience.”

And should she manage to string together a few months of trouble-free training, then this bubbly athlete may well get the redemption she has been waiting years for.

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