Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Badders Excited for Fresh Start


He attracted criticism for poor tactical errors in two major championship finals last year but following an encouraging indoor campaign, middle-distance man Andy Baddeley is confident of success in 2011 and beyond, writes Nicola Bamford.

The 28-year-old from Merseyside has failed to win a championship medal since taking silver in the 2003 World University Games 1500m event and is better known for his performances on the road, but after finishing just outside the medals in the 3,000m at the European indoor championships in Paris last March, Baddeley is positive he can finally make a mark on the global outdoor scene.

Coached by Andy Hobdell and based at St Mary’s University in London - where he used to work as a part-time lecturer - Baddeley enjoyed a promising start to the year, winning the UK indoor 3,000m title, being ranked as the second-fastest Briton of the season with 3:39.16 for the 1500m and placing fourth in France, which should all set
him up for a good summer:

“I’m feeling excited about getting out and competing in 2011,” the British road one-mile record-holder with 3:51.08 explains.

“I was tantalisingly close to a medal at the European indoors with relatively limited preparation so I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do outdoors after recent training stints in Kenya and Colorado.”

With bests of 3:34.46 for 1500m (from 2008), 3:49.38 for the track mile (2008) and 7:42.75 for 3,000m (2010), Baddeley lies in 17th, sixth and 14th position on the
British all-time lists, achievements which many tend to forget are performed, quite astonishingly, whilst running with an electrocardiogram in his chest due to an irregular heartbeat.

However, Baddeley is keen to dispel the condition as the cause for his below-par performances in 2010 and reveals:

“I didn't achieve what I set out to achieve, which were medals in the Europeans and Commonwealths.”

All was not lost, though for the first-class Cambridge University aerospace engineering graduate did manage to finish near to his 1500m best in the Aviva British Grand Prix in Gateshead and placed fifth for Team Europe over the same distance in the IAAF/VTB Continental Cup at the end of the summer.

“I wasn't far off (my aims) though, and spent a lot of time post-season working out small changes that will hopefully make a big difference this season,” Baddeley continues.

Aiming High

After contesting the last World Championships with a pain-killing injection into his foot after relying on crutches the day before racing the semi-final in Berlin and also racing through an Achilles problem at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, Baddeley is understandably hoping for far better luck for the same competitions this summer and next:

“My major goal for 2011 is the World Champs in Daegu, South Korea (in August) - everything is preparation for that,” he explains.

Opening his outdoor season at the BMC Grand Prix in Manchester in the 800m at the month, Baddeley will then contest the Diamond League in Oslo and is well aware of the strong British competition for championship places:

“The 1500m is getting a lot stronger, and I think good competition is really important to push us all to faster times and higher expectations,” he reveals.

“Having three Britons in the final in Barcelona was fantastic and shows that with Tom Lancashire and Colin McCourt we're in good shape.”

Training with five other British internationals including Mark Draper and Michael Skinner in the capital, Baddeley is working hard to ensure his Olympic dream is still alive and well come London next summer:

“I was a finalist in Beijing and have worked hard since then to be stronger, faster and better, so ultimately, I am aiming as high as I can and looking for a medal in London,” he explains in addition to the fact that he would like to work in running shoe design after his athletic career.

“Long-term, it's easy to forget that everything carries on after London, but I want to continue to race the best guys in the world, and train in wonderful places across the continents.

“My aims post 2012 will be the same as before - train hard, and win races.”

It sounds a simple plan and one that could just be the key for his untapped potential to finally be unleashed on the track when it matters most this summer and next on home-turf.

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