2 July 2008
Kelly Sotherton was in a positive frame of mind when she spoke about competing in front of her home crowd in next week’s Aviva National Championships. Sotherton is one of several leading British athletes competing at the three day championships where competition for Olympic places will be hotly contested. Sotherton said,
“I can’t wait for the Olympic Trials here in Birmingham, it’s my home trackand I train out of the High Performance Centre so I know it well and will be desperate to put on a good show in front of my friends and family.
"I am happy with how my training and competing has been going in recent weeks, I am in great shape and just looking forward to doing the business here next week.”
The chances of Kelly picking up Olympic gold greatly increased when the dominant Swede Carolina Kluft announced that she won’t be defending her Olympic title, but the 31 year old remains focused.
“Only when Carolina is not on the starting line with me will I believe she isn’t competing, she will be at Beijing so I have not been jumping for joy since her announcement, I just have to remember what I can do and concentrate on myself.”
With the recent withdrawal of British rival Jess Ennis due to injury, the door seems wide open for the 31 year old from Birmingham to improve on her bronze medal which she secured in Athens, but Sotherton knows from her own experience that no medal is guaranteed and is wary of other unknown competitors.
“Obviously things look good for me with no Jess and Carolina but someone always comes out of the woodwork like I did in Athens. Yes I am aware I am in a good place but I will take nothing for granted and am preparing myself the proper way to give myself the best chance to bring back a gold medal.
“For some reason I am the favourite in this country but there are plenty of other competitors in the world who are better than me, it’s how you perform on the day.”
And of her recent success in the 4 x 400m in Annecy at the Spar European Cup, has she found a new event to add to her seven in the heptathlon?
“Definitely, it was such an exciting weekend. The timekeepers got my time wrong as well, so when they announced my actual time it turned out I was the fastest of the four girls - I was obviously ecstatic and it will give me another crack at a medal if selected!”
Tickets for the Aviva National Championships at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham on 11,12 & 13 July 2008 are available by phone on 08000 556 056 or online at www.ukathletics.net