Monday, 17 June 2013
Lake in Full Flow Towards Donetsk Glory Bid
WRITTEN FOR THE IAAF
Talented British female multi-eventers are used to dealing with expectation in light of their recent conveyor belt of champions. From Sydney 2000 Olympic champion Denise Lewis through to her successor, London 2012 Olympic golden girl Jessica Ennis and junior national record-holder Katarina Johnson-Thompson, the heptathlon has delivered a plethora of global stars and this summer, Morgan
Lake looks set to join their esteemed stable of champions.
The 16-year-old from Surrey, England registered a world youth-leading 5725 score en route to claiming the English junior title in Bedford earlier this month, adding over 200 points to her lifetime best to leap into the runner-up spot on the UK under18 all-time list behind Johnson-Thompson.
The latter’s 5750 mark was set during her 2009 World Youth Championship victory and Lake – fresh from an impressive 1.85m high jump best and national junior title last weekend – intends to replicate such a feat in taking the global crown at this year’s event in Donetsk, Ukraine next month:
“I was very happy with my overall score as it gives me a lot of confidence going into Donetsk next month,” she revealed.
“I exceeded my lifetime bests with 14.70m for the shot and 39.56m for the javelin and in the high jump, I was only one centimetre off my personal best at the time - but I also didn’t reach my goals in the hurdles and long jump so there were many mixed emotions during the competition.”
Having accumulated over twenty national titles and five age-group records in just five short years in the combined events, Lake is ready to step up on her global debut three weeks from now:
“My main aim is to become world youth champion and I would like to get a point score of around 5800-plus, which at the moment seems quite possible as long as all my events go reasonably well over the two days,” she explained.
“I am very excited to be competing in my first global championships and am looking forward to meeting other athletes and seeing how they prepare for competitions.”
Guided by her father Eldon, a former British junior international triple jumper, Lake claimed her first national title at the tender age of 11 – winning the 2009 English indoor under15 long jump against girls up to four years her elder.
A former national-standard swimmer, she went onto break records as an under13 – with a 3046 pentathlon later that same year - and has since gone on to eclipse the best under15 and 17 marks.
Training at Thames Valley Athletic Centre in Eton, Lake has just finished her GCSE exams at Wellington College in Berkshire where she lives and studies six days each week and is now relishing her free summer in order to focus on her athletics:
“Juggling exams and athletics has definitely been a struggle this year but I am hoping to get A*, A or B grades and I will be continuing my education in the sixth form in the autumn,” she revealed.
“My training over the last few months has been going as well as could be expected due to the limited
amount of time I have been able to dedicate to training – I was training about three times a week but now my exams are over, this has increased to four or five times.”
A member of Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow AC, Lake is convinced that further improvements are imminent:
“This year, in the high jump and long jump my aims are 1.86m and 6.30m, and for the 800m, I am hoping to run in the low 2:20 range once I get some more specific 800m training done – the 800m is a big point scorer in the heptathlon and can be the difference between the colour of a medal,” she
“The javelin was quite a struggle for me last year but over the winter, I have made a lot of technical changes and believe it is possible to get over 40m this year which would be a great step forward.”
Rewind back to London last August when Ennis was scorching to Olympic victory and the then 19-year-old Johnson-Thompson was finishing a promising 15th, Lake was swiftly following in their footsteps in bettering the latter’s British under17 record that very same day.
Amassing 5169 points in the English under17 combined events Championships in Stoke, she eclipsed the record by 23 points on her heptathlon debut – her performance evidently inspired by the exploits of her illustrious counterparts further south in the capital:
“On the first day of the Olympic heptathlon, I would go into the stand in between events and watch the coverage either on my phone or in the clubhouse,” she explained.
“Their performances were very inspirational and it was great to see the whole country behind them. It definitely motivated me to break Katarina’s record - I realised afterwards that Jess, Katarina and I all set our relevant age group records that day.”
Indeed, 2012 was a good year all round for Lake as she took English and national schools victories in both the high and long jump and received her first two call-ups for national honours:
“2012 was a good year for me especially for the long and high jump with 6.19m and 1.80m marks, as these were the main events I was focussing on and breaking Katarina’s record last year was definitely one of my highlights as I was definitely not expecting to break it,” she recalled.
Off the back of her breakthrough campaign, 2013 started well with the national indoor under17 high and long jump gold medals, as well as a useful 3965 pentathlon and silver in the British senior high jump final.
Midway through an encouraging summer season, she is now keen to consolidate her recent fitness with gold in Donetsk next month and the ambitious teenager already has her eye on qualifying for her next major championship:
“Next year, my goal is to either go to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow or the World Junior Championships in Eugene, USA,” revealed Lake.
“Longer‐term, I would definitely love to go to my first Olympics in Rio in 2016 - I will be 19, the same age as Katarina was in London and the opportunity to go to the World Championships at the London Olympic Stadium in 2017 is definitely a target and motivator for me.”
And with her form flowing swiftly towards her first global medal, Lake certainly appears on track to maintain the tradition of internationally-successful British heptathlon queens for many years to come.