WRITTEN FOR TEAM 2012 VISA
Written by Nicola Bamford
After being forced to miss most of the past two seasons with injury, 400m runner Andrew Steele is determined to sprint his way back into the international fold this summer.
The 26-year-old from Manchester competed only twice in 2009 and only half a dozen times last season but still managed to run 45.99, the fifth-fastest time of the year by a British man, which he given him hope for the year ahead after an encouraging winters training.
Guided by Stephen Ball, Steele is better known as a relay runner and the son of ITV’s This Morning’s doctor Chris but is keen to re-establish himself on the individual scene this season:
“I am feeling good after spending almost five months abroad this year, training in sunny climates,” he reveals.
“After missing almost two years due to illness and injury, I am looking forward to competing.
“The main event for athletics this year - the world championships, takes place in Daegu, South Korea in August. This will be the last major championship before London.”
Having failed to make the last global event two years ago, Steele will be keen to return to top-flight competition in three months’ time in preparation for the Olympics next summer.
It was at the Beijing Games in 2008 where Steele caused a surprise by speeding to a 44.94 lifetime best and 14th on the British all-time list when placing eighth in his semi-final, before helping Team GB for fourth place in the 4x400m relay.
The 2007 UK Champion is yet to begin his 2011 campaign but can-not help but think towards the future:
“My first and foremost goal is to reach the 400m final in London, where - if I am fit and healthy - I can challenge for a medal,” he explains.
“The 400 metres in Britain is historically one of our country’s strongest events and the current crop of athletes is no different.
“There are a group of three or four of us that could all in theory reach the Olympic final if we ran to our best and we should have a 4x400m relay squad good enough to challenge for the gold in London.”
Although not ready to hang his spikes up just yet, Steele also has ambitious hopes for after his athletic career:
“If my body were to allow it, carrying on to Rio in 2016 could be an option but I will re-assess after London,” he reveals.
“I harbour ambitions to become a fully trained Barista, pouring the best espresso in the country from my own coffee shop, alongside being a sought-after film composer, TV presenter, writer, designer and socialite!”