Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Jackson Welcomes Invites


Enjoying a fresh batch of invitations to some of the top meetings across the globe, 800m runner Emma Jackson is relishing the new opportunities her pre-London form is attracting ahead of a potential Olympic debut, writes Nicola Bamford.
The 23-year-old Staffordshire runner has her eyes firmly set on a spot in Team GB for this summer’s Games in London and having already recorded two lifetime bests on the track, has got her 2012 campaign off to an impressive start.
Guided by Alan Morris in Stoke, Jackson opened her season in Doha earlier this month at the prestigious Diamond League event – her first invitation to such since a breakthrough year in 2011.
Storming to an eye-catching fifth place in a 1:59.37 personal best, Jackson now sits as eleventh the British all-time list and later went on to register a fine 4:11.54 clocking with victory at the Loughborough International last weekend:
“I'm thrilled to open my season with a PB and an Olympic ‘A’ Standard - it means that I don't have to chase the standard, just race the races and see what happens,” the 2007 European junior silver-medallist explained.

“It's such a good feeling to open with a PB - I knew I was training well but you never quite know how that will translate into a race until you get out there and do it.
“It (Doha) was a bit of a scary season opener but I think I perform best with a bit of fear in me sometimes! - If you ever need a kick up the backside in training, knowing you're going to be running against the best in the world is a good way to get it!

“My PB in Loughborough was nice as well - I didn't even feel like I'd raced at the end so I know there's a lot more to come there, it just proves to me that my endurance is better than ever and it gives me an extra confidence boost going into these next few races.”

Having now broken the two-minute barrier on four occasions – the first in August last year – Jackson is excited in becoming a now regular feature on the top-tier international circuit.

Admitting that she sometimes has to pinch herself at such opportunities, the 2010 Commonwealth fourth-placer will next compete in Hengelo on Sunday and another Diamond League in Rome four days later.

“This year, I'm hoping to get more consistent around 1.59.00 and if I can  run closer to that and hopefully sneak under it, then I would be very happy,” Jackson revealed.
Mentored by 2004 double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes, Jackson is surprised by her recent form due to giving spent much of the winter plagued by injuries:
The winter was a bit of a disaster - I had a freak injury where I whacked my knee on my front door of my house and the resulting bone bruise meant I had six weeks of no running.
“It was so frustrating to injure myself that way and it lingered on and on and got to the point where the physio’s just told me to take painkillers and run through the pain, as it was literally just a bruise and I wasn't doing myself any harm.
“I pushed myself so hard trying to get back fit after the knee problem that I then strained my calf - it wasn't too bad but it meant another four weeks out when I'd already missed so much.
“I was so upset at the time but, unlike with my knee bruise, I could still aqua jog, bike and cross train with this injury - I spoke to Kelly as soon as I'd done it and she gave me some priceless advice on how to get the injury healed and how to stay fit, it worked wonders and somehow I came back fitter than before!”

Having reached the semi-final stage of the World outdoor Championships in Daegu, South Korea last summer, the two-lap runner revealed how useful her first global senior championship experience had been:
“2011 was fantastic - going to the World’s definitely changed something inside me - it gave me a hunger to go to more and more of those major champs and I loved every second of Daegu.
“I also had a chance to go out on the European circuit quite a bit last year which was all fairly new to me - it was a real learning curve, going out to races abroad without Alan or my parents but I was fine and so I went out to Doha this year by myself.”
Determined to place inside the top two at next month’s Olympic trials in Birmingham, Jackson continued:
“My event is notoriously strong in Britain - I'm sure it will get very interesting as the season progresses and I know the trials will be tough whatever happens, so I just need to make sure I'm in the best shape I can be.”
Eager to make her Olympic debut in the British capital later this August, she explained:
“The Olympics are obviously at the forefront of everyone's mind all the time at the moment, though it's quite difficult in my event as there are currently four women with the 800m ‘A’ standard and only three places on the team.
“I want to be one of those three like you wouldn't believe but I've not let myself presume that I'm going to be one of them - I know I'm going to have to fight tooth and nail to get there and so I want to know I'm going to be there first before I start talking about my aims for the Olympics.
“I don't want to be an also-ran by any means but the trials come first and so I'm mainly focussing on them right now - I just don't want to get ahead of myself or get complacent and end up missing out.”

No comments: