15 October 2013
Sabrina Bakare (coach: Jane Dixon) has admitted that the feeling of being crowned 400m World Youth Champion is yet to set in, but is hoping to use 2013 as a springboard to another strong season next year.
The 17 year old showed maturity beyond her years in Donetsk to see off the challengefrom pre-race favourite USA’s Olivia Baker and win GB & NI’s first of two gold medals at the IAAF World Youth Championships.
“That winning feeling was indescribable. After a long period of winter training and being able to produce that performance on the track after an injury-hit 2012 exceeded my expectations. Reflecting on the race and watching it through now, I still can’t believe it. It was out of this world that feeling when I crossed the line.”
Bakare went into the championships as the quickest European on paper after running a personal best of 53.98 in Bedford a month prior to arriving in Donetsk, but the Shaftesbury Barnet Harrier was not expecting to climb onto the top of the podium.
However, after running 54.16 in the heats, Bakare went on to run a lifetime best 53.23 in the semi-finals, before taking another 400 hundredths of a second off that time to storm to the gold medal in 52.77.
“My expectation initially was just to get into the final, but as I came through the heats I realised I was running fast and felt good. When I got to the final I thought to myself about giving it all I can out there, which I did and became World Youth Champion. At the time I was so surprised with myself – it was a whole rush of emotions and as I said, I couldn’t quite believe it.”
Despite a standout 2013, Bakare is hoping to progress further and cites her 400m compatriot Christine Ohuruogu as someone who she’d like to emulate in her career.
“That race really showed Christine’s true determination. She fought all the way to the line and showed how much she really wanted to win another world title. It really inspired me to think that in a few years’ time, I could do exactly the same and become a world or Olympic champion. All I have to do is give everything I’ve got and she demonstrated what she’s capable of all in one race of– she’s absolutely amazing.
“I hope next year to make the World Junior team in Oregon, but I’m not too sure after that – anything else would be a bonus. My coach is turning 51 next year, so she’s saying I’ve got to run 51.3 but in all honesty I just want to shave my time down again like I did last year.”
Bakare’s time of 52.77 placed her eleventh in the senior 400m rankings for 2013, and is quick to pay credit to her coach for her rapid progression.
“I’ve been with Jane ever since I started athletics four years ago. I look up to her as a mother figure and our relationship is really strong. She knows when I’ve hit my limits in training, and how to deal with me and what works for me,” added Bakare, who is looking to go to university next year to study psychology.