Friday, 24 February 2012

No Ordinary Joe


Almost twelve months since failing to reach the European indoor 800m final, Joe Thomas has wintered well with a national record and now finds himself as an outside medal hope for the global edition next month, writes Nicola Bamford.

The 24-year-old from Cardiff heads into the World indoor Championships in Istanbul a fortnight from now with a genuine medal shot on his senior global championship debut, after enjoying an impressive breakthrough this season.

With his rock-style hair and facial piercings, Thomas could be mistaken for a loud, over-confident athlete, yet the unassuming Welshman has quietly gone about his business this winter with a refreshing air of modesty.

Coached by Arwyn Davies, he has improved his four-lap lifetime best on six occasions during his 2012 indoor campaign, culminating with a fine 1:46.33 Welsh record when placing fourth against a world-class field at the XL Galan meeting in Stockholm last night, which shot him to fifth on the British all-time list.

The Welsh and UK indoor champion revealed:

“The indoor season has been the perfect preparation I hoped for ahead of the Olympics in the summer.

“I set out to try and run the World indoor qualifying standard as early as possible and managed it front-running on my own in the first race of the season, and I've currently run the standard six times – and my latest time was just off my all-time (outdoor) personal best (1:46.20 from 2008).”

On the reason behind his breakthrough this year, Thomas continued:

“I had a clear injury and illness-free winter which has been the first time in three years or so.

“I also slightly increased the focus on the endurance aspect which has left me a lot stronger and fitter - I think this is one of the main factors towards my consistency.”

Having also begun his Olympic year with an outright 1,500m best by twelve seconds with 3:47.55, Thomas is in confident mood ahead of his test in Turkey:

“In the world champs, my main aim was to make the final but with the form I've shown leading into the championships, I'd now like to medal or worse, came come very close,” he explained.


Seventh in the 2010 Commonwealth Games final in New Delhi, Thomas is eager to get more positive major championship experience under his belt before attempting to make the British team for his Olympic debut in London this summer.

Finishing only fifth in the UK outdoor Championships last June, he was forced to miss out on a spot for the global event in South Korea but went on to reach the semi-final stage of the World University Games in China.

Reliving his frustrations which lead to a steep learning curve, Thomas revealed:

“2011 was okay but I didn't get into the races I needed to in order to run fast and the winter leading into the summer didn't go as smooth as I'd have liked with injury and illness.

“The Commonwealth Games the year before was a good experience that I've been able to learn from and build upon - I was happy to make the final and it's left me wanting a lot more.”

With a 47.25 400m best, Thomas evidently has the speed to go with his endurance but once the World indoor Championships are out of the way, he is determined to transfer his form on to the outdoor scene in time for the London Games:

“Hopefully this year I'll be able to regularly get into the races that will allow me to run to my potential,” he explained.

“I'd like to at least run a low-1:45 but hopefully a 1:44 - this will depend on me getting into the good grand prix's that are set up for us to run fast in and I think from my form this indoor season - and if I carry it through in the world champs - I'll get into the best races I need.”

The races above all that he craves to compete in are of course due to be held in the Olympic stadium in Stratford this August and Thomas has the belief that his recent record-breaking form can take him there:

“Like all championships, I'd like to make the final,” he said

“The championships I've done leading up to the Olympics and all I've taken and learnt from them, will all help me get into the best physical and mental state.”

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Win or Dai Trying


Whilst a fair majority of Team GB are competing on the boards ahead of the World indoor Championships next month, 400m hurdler Dai Greene is spending the winter months pushing the boundaries of training in his quest for Olympic gold this summer, writes Nicola Bamford.

The 25-year-old Welshman refused to rest on his laurels last autumn after clinching the world title in Dageu, South Korea by boosting his training load in a bid to increase his aerobic capacity and strength endurance for the gruelling one-lap barrier event in the all-important Olympic year.

The saying that ‘however hard it is to reach the top, it’s even harder to stay there’ rings true with Greene, for he is determined to maintain his stranglehold on the event after two progressive years among the major championship medals.

Following European and Commonwealth glory in 2010, the Swansea Harrier captured his first world crown last summer and in an effort to climb atop of the podium again in London this August, has spent the past few months supplementing his training with four mile runs and kilometre repetitions – a bold and unusual move for a sprint hurdler.

Based only five minutes away from the track in Bath, where he is guided by hurdles coaching guru Malcolm Arnold, Greene revealed:

“I’ve been pushing on with my training, adding the volume – it’s going well and I’ve certainly been putting 100% effort in.

“We’ve been doing fartleks, hills and three-minute reps on grass for strength – I’ll do this for another six weeks then drop down the volume.”

Regularly nearing exhaustion, Greene is constantly motivated by the thought of adding another precious piece of gold to his ever-growing collection.

Having recently returned from a month-long spell training in South Africa, he continued:

“I made a lot of progress and I enjoyed my time there - it was nice to have a ‘break’ away in the sun and a change of scenery with no distractions so it was a shock to the system when we arrived back.

“I don’t dream about it (winning the Olympics) but I do use it as motivation to get through the hard sessions.”


Training alongside the current European under23 champion, Jack Green and Commonwealth 110m hurdles bronze-medallist Lawrence Clarke, Greene has come a long way since taking the continental under23 crown in 2003.

A promising footballer with the Swansea City FC youth team, he failed to make the 2008 squad for the Beijing Olympics but enjoyed a breakthrough two years later, winning two international championships and almost eclipsing the 47.82 British record.

Greene came close to the illusive mark when clocking his lifetime best of 47.88 whilst taking the Continental Cup title in Croatia at the close of the 2010 season and as 1992 Olympic bronze-medallist Kriss Akabussi’s record enters its twentieth year, Greene is sure it will be within his grasp yet refuses to focus purely on it:

“I want to be the Olympic champion and I believe the British record’s within my reach but it’s the thought of London that gets me through training – it’s the quest for Olympic gold that pushes me,” he explained.

Looking forward to a training camp in Portugal over the Easter period, the British number-one for the past three seasons will open his 2012 racing campaign at the end of May:

“I’ll do some Diamond Leagues in Europe before the UK trials - in Birmingham in June – it’s a balancing act between training, racing and travelling but I’ll do seven or eight races before the trials over the hurdles and 400m flat.”

The winner of the Diamond League title in 2011, Greene also reduced his 400m flat best to 45.82 to rank eighth on the national rankings for the year – performances which were achieved whilst coping with a secret hip injury.

“I’d like to get involved with the Olympic relay squad so doing some flat races should help my chances of being selected,” he continued.

“I withdrew last minute from the team in Daegu due to feeling tired after the hurdles rounds but the Olympic schedule allows it this time.”

First and foremost on his mind of course, is the 400m hurdles final six months from now and Greene is in positive mood ahead of his Olympic debut:

“The main threats for gold will come from the Americans and the South African and there’s three of us Brits which could do well as well, but I’m confident that I’ll progress further and be a threat like last year - I’m satisfied I’m doing enough (in training).

“I don’t find it (the ‘favourite’ tag) an extra pressure as someone in my position has to aim for the gold – that’s what I’m training for, to run the best race of my life in that final and to have no regrets.”

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Switch to Success


Having already enjoyed an impressive fourteen-year international career, Helen Clitheroe is feeling fitter than ever as she looks to the London Games this summer as a chance to further rejuvenate her Olympic CV, writes Nicola Bamford.

The 38-year-old from Preston successfully reinvented herself as a distance runner after placing fourth in the 2010 Commonwealth Games 1,500m final in New Delhi and - having increased the training miles - has turned her attentions to the 5,000m event with noteworthy success.

Previously focusing on the metric mile and 3,000m distance, Clitheroe captured eight British titles, the national 3,000m steeplechase record – which she holds to this day - and attended eight straight world and five European cross-country championships, demonstrating great versatility.

Also a bronze-medallist over 1,500m in the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, the Lancashire athlete has however, spent much of her athletic career outside of the medals in major championships and it was this frustration which lead to the switch in disciplines.

And just five months after the turning point in India, Clitheroe enjoyed the race of her life as she sped to European indoor 3,000m gold in Paris last March – justifying the bold decision tenfold.

One year on, the John Nuttall-coached runner is in fine form following two month-long spells training at high-altitude in Kenya:

“It was strange being away especially over the New Year in Kenya but having the opportunity to train with a bunch of elite athletes like Mo (Farah – the world 5,000m champion) and Hannah (the world 1,500m silver-medallist) was so beneficial, as was being able to only think about training and sleeping, as the rest makes a massive difference and we had everything we needed out there,” she revealed.

“Training and sharing a room with an old friend like Paula (Radcliffe – the world marathon record-holder) was great and we’d laugh about still running well after all these years even at our age!”

Regularly hitting one-hundred-mile weeks over the winter, Clitheroe continued:

“It’s seemed to work well for me and I’m responding well - I’m also adapting quicker every time I go to altitude and I never had a bad session, really so it’s good to have those good blocks of solid training to fall back on.

“Now back in Preston, I mostly train alone and sometimes have to beg some local men to train with me!

“I also have a gym in my garage to reduce the stress of travel - having a better system at home helps, what with not being funded.”


The holder of ten veteran-35 British indoor and outdoor records, Clitheroe had a mixed 2011 season in her first summer as a long-distance runner.

Despite achieving the Olympic ‘A’ standard of 15:20 for the 5,000m with a promising 15:06.75 clocking in August, she went on to place eleventh in the World Championship final in Daegu, South Korea and a bad experience on her 10,000m debut in June put paid to her designs on the distance altogether:

“I have the ‘A’ standard under my belt and I’ve decided to focus on that event as I was disappointed in my 10,000m time (32:11.29 in June) last year,” Clitheroe explained.

“Racing it in spikes set me back a bit with a few niggles and it would be a risk to do again so I’d rather put all my eggs in one basket with the 5,000m.”

With that in mind, Clitheroe is working on her speed endurance this indoor season and finished just six-seconds off her 8:39.81 personal best when placing runner-up at the Aviva International in Glasgow last month.

The next – much sterner - test comes on Saturday in the 3,000m again, this time at the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham, where she will face the favourite for Olympic gold in her new event, the World 5,000m and 10,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya.

“To run a good time in Glasgow was really pleasing, I was really chuffed and Birmingham has such an amazing field so it’s all about getting a good time under my belt,” Clitheroe revealed on the distance at which she sits as fourth on the British all-time list.

“I’d love to run a PB and I feel in shape to challenge it so I’ve just got to hang in there, stay in the mix as long as I can and get dragged around by some of the best in the world.

“We’ll discuss the World indoor’s (in Istanbul next month) after this weekend – if I run well, I may get selected but the plan’s to go to altitude again and keep sleeping in the altitude tent in preparation for the summer.”


Regardless of whether she travels to Turkey in three weeks’ time, Clitheroe is certain to train in Portugal this Easter, followed by a stint at altitude once more in Font Romeu in the French Pyrenees – all in an effort to be in fine form with London in mind.

Vying for a spot in her third Olympics, Clitheroe – who finished sixth in the heats of the steeplechase in Beijing four year ago – will begin her outdoor racing campaign at the end of May and plans to race the twelve-and-a-half lap event once or twice before the British trials in Birmingham in June:

“I also hope to run the ‘A’ standard again and would love to go under fifteen minutes this year,” she explained.

“2012’s a massive dream of mine - I’ve put myself under the same pressure for the past fourteen years and I’m leaving no stone unturned to ensure I run the best race of my life there.

“I’m hoping for a top-eight target but I’m approaching it step by step – I’ve only done four 5,000m’s so I’m still new but I’ve got my head around the event.

“To make a track team at 38 would be fantastic and I would be so proud to show it’s still possible and I feel as fit as I’ve ever felt.”

Monday, 20 February 2012

OCWK/FSWK Aviva GP Report


PB’s for Learmonth, Brewer and Bird; Strong Showing from England at Aviva GP

World 1,500m silver-medallist Hannah England capped her short yet impressive indoor season with a fine second-place finish amongst a world-class field in Birmingham today, whilst a trio of ‘On Camp with Kelly’ and ‘Future Stars with Kelly’ athletes registered lifetime bests at the Aviva Grand Prix in the city’s National Indoor Arena.

Speeding to the cheers of her home-crowd support, 24-year-old England clocked a season’s best 4:09.79 to finish as runner-up to Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba (4:01.33) in a thrilling metric mile final.

A week after clinching the UK 3,000m title in Sheffield and a month after running 4:25.11 in the Glasgow international, the Oxford-born runner explained:

“It was good and I performed as I expected, I just hoped to go a bit quicker than that.

“I did it the hard way and in the last few laps I was just trying to concentrate on running well and not worrying about the girls behind.”

Seventh in this same event in 2011 before taking her first major international championship medal, she continued:

“I’m chuffed that I managed to hold them off the whole way.”

Although not far off her 4:07.13 personal best from twelve months ago, England will now call an end to her winter racing campaign as she shifts her competitive focus in preparation for the Olympic Games in London this August.

One of the youngest athletes to impress the stadium-packed crowd overlooking the bright blue track was FSWK athlete Guy Learmonth.

The 19-year-old Scot sped to a superb 1:47.84 800m lifetime best when finishing eighth amongst another top-class senior elite field.

Fresh from a second place finish in Sheffield, the former rugby player took a second and a half off his season’s best and eclipsed his personal best set last season by almost a second.

“I’m so happy to get the qualifying time (for the World indoor Championships) at 19 – it’s just brilliant to make the team at this age,” he revealed on his forthcoming selection for the global event in Istanbul next month, which will be his debut in an international senior championship.

“I tried to run my socks off in such a strong race and I can’t quite believe it – I’ll find out (about Turkey) for definite early next week and it’s a real dream come true.”

Another athlete feeling confident yet still awaiting official selection for the main event of the winter is OCWK athlete James Brewer.

The 23-year-old from Cheltenham crossed the line in seventh with a new lifetime best of 3:38.03 to greet him.

Taking almost four seconds off his previous best dating back to 2008, the UK indoor silver-medallist from Sheffield is now looking forward to recapturing his best form from the beginning of the last Olympic cycle:

“I tried to hold on for as long as I could and felt good really,” he explained.

“The plan was to hold on to the quicker guys and chase hard the whole way - I made sure I didn’t push too hard so soon so it was nice to feel strong on the home straight.

“That’s the fastest I’ve run since around Beijing and Berlin (the 2008 Olympics and 2009 World Championships) so I’m really pleased.

“The field was a strong as the World’s will be next month so I hope to get into the final there and then anything can happen.”

One OCWK runner still searching for the illusive qualifying time for Turkey, however, is fast-improving 800m athlete Tara Bird.

The 24-year-old from Woodford Green with Essex Ladies registered a personal best by almost half a second here when speeding to a strong 2:04.96 clocking, yet is still forced to chase the 2:03.50 criteria before time runs out in the coming days.

Paced by OCWK and 2:02.30 Liverpool runner Vicky Griffiths – who has not raced since June last year due to injury - the UK indoor silver-medallist finished behind a trio of top European’s and her training partner Marilyn Okoro (who finished third in 2:02.62) and revealed afterwards:

“I was quite nervous going into this competition because I was the slowest going into it by far so I’m really pleased to not come last.

“Although I was a second outside the qualifying time, I do feel I can do it and will have another go.

“I’ve missed the indoor season for the past couple of years with injury so it’s really great to be running so well.”

Meanwhile, an OCWK athlete suffering further frustration was Birchfield Harrier Mark Mitchell, who was forced to withdraw midway through his two-mile debut against World 5,000m champion Mo Farah and a stellar cast.

Report written by Nicola Bamford.

Monday, 13 February 2012

OCWK & FSWK Athletes Compete Well at the UK Indoor Champs


Aviva Indoor World Trials and UK Championships – EIS, Sheffield, February 11th and 12th

Almost two dozen ‘On Camp with Kelly’ and ‘Future Stars with Kelly’ athletes competed in the UK indoor championships in Sheffield’s EIS indoor arena this weekend, with several capturing impressive national titles and medals ahead of the World indoor Championships in Turkey next month, writes Nicola Bamford.

World 1,500m silver-medallist Hannah England warmed up for the Aviva International in Birmingham next week with a strong showing of over-distance work to capture the 3,000m crown on Sunday in a gutsy front-running display of strength.

The 24-year-old from Oxford clocked a swift 9:06.04 to take her first national indoor crown from Bedford’s Katrina Wooton (9:06.99) and Stockport’s Elle Baker (9:09.43).

Guided by Bud Baldaro in Birmingham, England’s latest competitive outing follows a second-place finish at the Aviva International in Glasgow a fortnight ago, where she registered 4:25.11 in her specialist distance and bodes well for her facing a tough international field over the metric mile in six days’ time.

The 2009 1,500m silver-medallist at this event, England revealed afterwards:

“I’ve had a good run over 1500m this season and have another to look forward to so I wanted to try something different.

“Winning my first national indoor title was a big target of mine today - maybe I made it tougher for myself by running the 3,000m but it was fun.”

Explaining that she would bypass the forthcoming global Championships in Istanbul in order to focus on the Olympic Games in London this summer, England continued:

“It just shows me that my strength training is where it needs to be - I felt that I could have run faster if I needed to as the first few laps were quite tactical but it was good.”

Meanwhile, finishing in seventh position, Gateshead’s Stacey Smith clocked a personal best of 9:15.98.

The 22-year-old winner of the 1,500m title last year was competing in her first race of 2012 and took two seconds off her two-year-old best.

In the women’s 800m final later the same day, Woodford Green with Essex Ladies’ Tara Bird reeled in a huge gap to her training partner Marilyn Okoro (Shaftesbury Barnett Harriers) in the final 300m to finish a close second with a 2:05.00 season’s best.

The 24-year-old – who finished second in heat one with 2:06.36 the previous day - followed Okoro’s 2:04.01 explained afterwards:

“I’m very pleased as I was third last year so I’m very happy.

“Marilyn always goes off hard so I’m glad I managed to run strongly and almost reel her in and I’ll be pacing in Birmingham next week so hopefully I’ll be able to help her get the time for the World’s.”

Crawley’s Charlotte Best, 26, placed third in a 2:05.25 lifetime best after finishing second in her heat the day before in 2:06.91, despite competing in the event indoors for the first time since the 2007 season when she set her current best of 2:05.32.

In fifth, Radley Harriers’ 23-year-old Carolyn Plateau was close to her personal best with a 2:07.59 clocking after placing third in her heat.

Of those unfortunate to miss out on places in the final were European junior outdoor silver-medallist Rowena Cole (2:09.10 for fifth in heat one), Southern champion
Adelle Tracey with a personal best of 2:11.43 for fifth in heat two and 17-year-old Maddy Austin, who placed seventh in her heat with a lifetime best mark of 2:12.34.

Earlier in a thrilling men’s 1500m final, Cheltenham’s James Brewer had to relinquish the lead on the final circuit to eventually place second behind New Marske Harriers’ Lewis Moses in 3:45.66 to Moses’ 3:45.58.

The 23-year-old – who took the title in 2007 – won his heat in 3:50.27 the previous day but was left wanting in the final sprint for home and said:

“I’m disappointed to be honest and just didn’t have it in my legs today.

“I tried to push the pace but he tracked me the whole way – I’ve had a good season, though and will try to do better in Birmingham next week.”

Meanwhile, back in fourth position, Edinburgh’s Kris Gauson ran 3:47.13 after clocking 3:49.51 to take his heat the day before in his first indoor race since the 2004 season.

The men’s 800m final nearing the end of day two of the competition saw two OCWK athletes battle for the silver medal, with Scotland’s Guy Learmonth edging his way into second place over Ed Aston.

Learmonth, 19, won his heat in 1:50.43 the day before and only just missed his season’s best in the final with a 1:49.63 clocking to the victor, Joe Thomas (Cardiff, 1:47.26).

He revealed afterwards:

“It went really well and I’m happy with the silver because Joe’s running really well but I hope to improve again in Birmingham next week.”

Collecting the bronze was Cambridge’s 23-year-old Aston – the 2009 winner - who registered 1:49.73 after winning his heat the previous day with 1:51.92.

OCWK supervisor, Anthony Whiteman – the British M40 record-holder for both the 800m and 1,500m indoors – ran a 1:51.97 season’s best to finish second in his heat before withdrawing from the final the next day.

Nineteen year-old Zac Randall, meanwhile, failed to progress to the final yet registered a new lifetime best when placing third in his heat with 1:52.17.

Welsh champion Mark Mitchell smashed his lifetime best in the men’s 3,000m final on Saturday, registering a fine 7:59.00 clocking to finish third behind winner Jonny Mellor of Liverpool Harriers (7:58.36) and Belgrave’s Stephen Davies (7:58.78).

The 23-year-old Birchfield Harrier significantly improved on his debut at the distance when taking his national title last month in 8:07.90 in Cardiff and edged Northern champion Phillip Hurst in a thrilling battle for bronze.

Although missing out on a medal, the 22-year-old Elswick Harrier took an impressive seventeen seconds off his personal best to clock 8:01.45.

Meanwhile, crossing the line in sixth position a week after taking the British University cross-country title, Aldershot’s Jonny Hay completed the fifteen laps in 8:03.35.

Turning 20 the following day, the European u20 5,000m bronze-medallist was making his indoor debut and finished just ahead of Gateshead’s Ross Murray.

A silver medallist from the 2011 event, 21-year-old Murray registered 8:03.37, with Bracknell’s 17-year-old Zac Seddon another to sample indoor racing for the first time, finishing tenth in 8:12.53.

In the women’s 1,500m final today, Solihull’s 23-year-old Claire Tarplee finished sixth with 4:32.50, a week after setting a 4:24.07 personal best in Birmingham.

In eighth position, meanwhile, Shaftesbury Barnett Harrier’s 18-year-old Melissa Courtney clocked 4:34.97 in her metric mile indoor debut.

In the women’s 400m heats on Saturday, Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow’s Shelayna Oskan-Clarke finished fourth in heat two with a 54.84 clocking.

The 22-year-old – who recently placed fifth for the Commonwealth Select team at the Aviva International in Glasgow with 55.37 – just fell short of her 54.55 personal best, which she ran at the McCain Challenge at the same venue last weekend.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The Nearly Man


After finishing fourth at the semi-final stage on three occasions and placing in the same position in a final last winter, the past four major international championships have made 800m runner Andrew Osagie determined to make a bigger impact at the Olympics this summer, writes Nicola Bamford.

The 23-year-old from Essex just missed out on the medals at the European indoor Championships in Paris last March, showing a marked improvement since failing to reach the World indoor and Commonwealth Games outdoor finals a few months earlier in the 2010 season.

Last summer, too, he stepped up a gear to miss out on the World outdoor final in Daegu, South Korea yet the frustrating number ‘four’ seemed to be haunting the London-based athlete on the big stage.

2012, however, is the year in which Osagie intends to reverse his fortunes on the track, for - following a strong spell of altitude training in Kenya – he is looking to sprint into the medals at the World indoor event in Turkey next month, with a longer-term view to success on his Olympic debut in London in August:

“My goal - as will be most of Team GB's athletes - is to get in that final, it would be rude not to!” he explained on his intent in the British capital.

“I've had so many things to worry about day-to-day for any sort of pressure of London to get to me really.

“I just think about enjoying racing where ever, whenever so if that 'where' is London and the 'when' is 2012, I want to be there.”


Guided by Craig Winrow at their St Mary’s University base, Osagie has enjoyed a steep development curve since reducing his times by five seconds in the 2007 season.

His breakthrough came in the summer of 2009 when he reached the heats of the European under23 Championships, before launching himself onto the senior scene with UK indoor gold and as Team GB regular the following year.

A black belt in karate, Osagie’s best year to date started with a 1:46.59 lifetime best indoors in Stockholm twelve months ago, which propelled him to sixth on the British all-time list and to an exciting summer campaign.

Following his capture of the UK outdoor title in Birmingham in July, he registered a fine 1:45.36 personal best in London to improve by over a second from the previous year and end the season as the nation’s number-two behind European silver-medallist Michael Rimmer, before the promising global outdoor debut in Asia.

Osagie revealed his thoughts on the year:

“2011 was mainly positive - the indoor season went well for me, though fourth place was the most frustrating position to finish but I took a lot of experience and encouragement from it.

“I picked up an injury during the spring months which meant I missed eight weeks of running - this was another frustrating period for me because I couldn't do exactly what I wanted to do.

“At the world championships I was happy enough with getting through to the semi-final but it only showed me how close I am getting to where I want to be - coming so close with so much training missed can only mean good things.”


Spurred on by the disappointments and close-calls in the past, Osagie is looking ahead to the Olympic year with optimism.

He will compete on his ‘favourite’ track at the Aviva Grand Prix indoor event in Birmingham in a fortnight from now, searching for an early twenty-fourth birthday present as well as to maintain his stranglehold on the British number-one position from the past two winters.

After Turkey, though, all focus will be on staying healthy and on London later in the summer:

“Winter training started better than ever again which was promising, however, out in Kenya on a UK Athletics training trip funded by the Virgin London Marathon, I picked up a niggling knee injury due to the uneven ground,” Osagie explained.

“Learning from last season, I have been training in the gym when possible and running is slowly improving now - I'm now looking forward to racing indoors with the possibility of again going to the World Indoor Championships.”

Continuing, he provided his thoughts surrounding the fierce competition even to qualify for the Games:

“I never really go into a season with specific time targets as I don't want to limit myself - I guess the first time target is another Olympic ‘A’ standard and then I would like to be in the shape to run 1:44 by the end of July,” he said.

“The men's 800m in Britain is finally looking stronger but at the same time the event internationally is stronger than it has been in ten years - I finished 2011 as British number-one on merit despite a short season so my aim is to earn that position in 2012.”