21st November 2017

Doyle excited by triple challenge in 2018

Eilidh Doyle is relishing 2018, excited by the challenge of peaking three times during the year, after a season in which everything was geared towards one event, the World Championships in London.

After the Diamond League final in Brussels the 400m hurdler said: “I think it might be better that next year is a busy year. This year all the focus was on London and next year there’s the World Indoors, Commonwealth Games and Europeans.”

Brussels was Doyle’s last race of a busy season in which she ran 34 times and she was ambivalent about the season. She said: “2017 has been frustrating. It has been one of the biggest seasons of my career and I was captain at the World Championships, which was a great honour. That was the highlight but performance wise it was up and down. Obviously I got a silver medal at the World Championships in the 4x400m relay but I would have liked to have been a bit more consistent in the hurdles and put together some better races. All in all I can’t complain. Overall it has been a good year for me”.

Of the Brussels race, and fourth place in the Diamond League final, Doyle said: “I was happy with that. I was hoping to be a bit faster but I think fourth in that kind of company is a good place to be. It’s a good way to end the season. I’ve had some time off completely and now I am training for indoors. I will probably do a full indoor season and see what my flat speed is. Then I might go out to Australia before the Commonwealth Games and try to get a race out there”.

Recognising that many athletes go through long careers without ever competing in a home championship, Doyle feels that her cohort are more fortunate than they sometimes realise. She added: “Sometimes when an event is over there is a down period and you ask ‘what’s next?’ but I have never experienced that – it’s been the domino effect.

“After London 2012, Glasgow 2014 was just around the corner and then the World Championships in London. After London 2017, it is just a few months to the World Indoors in Birmingham.  I feel very lucky to have had a home Olympics, a home Commonwealth Games, a home World Championships and then potentially home World and European Indoors to come.”

The one event that will always stand out in her memory when she hangs up her spikes are the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games where she won a silver medal. The best memory is the lap of honour.

“It was a very emotional moment but one I got to share with everyone I wanted to,” she said. “Everyone – my husband, my family, my coach, everyone who should have been – was in Hampden Park, so I don’t think I’ll ever have that moment again. To have everyone there that I wanted to be there was what made it so special.”

This year saw Doyle take her international 4x400m relay medal collection from Olympic Games and World and European Championships indoor and outdoor to nine. Both European indoor silver in Belgrade and world silver in London were better than expected.

She said: “[In London] we knew we were capable of getting a medal but we knew it would be tough. America and Jamaica are strong but then you’ve got Nigeria and Poland too. For us to win a silver medal, when we always seem to get bronze, it’s just incredible to go one better.”

With a very young and inexperienced team at the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade, any colour medal would have been a bonus but the team again came away with silver. In London, Doyle forsook her favoured first leg.

“I like the first leg because there’s no drama. You’re in your own lane. Nobody is going to cut across you. There are no elbows. You are in the clear and you can have your own race,” she said and then stepping out of her comfort zone for the good of the team in London.

In Belgrade Doyle ran the first leg to implement – successfully – a clear plan. She said: “Indoor relays are very tactical and very dependent on lane draw. You really want one of the outside lanes for the first leg because you really want to be in amongst it so you need to get out fast. Indoors, relays are lot more tactical than the outdoors. Outdoors I think whoever has the fastest athletes will win. Indoors you can win without having the fastest athletes by getting the order right and getting your tactics right.”