AS WE continue our countdown to the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games, which are now 37 weeks away, sports reporter GRAHAM CLARK meets a woman who is hoping her domination on home soil will continue next summer
BRITISH javelin record holder Goldie Sayers is hoping an unprecedented 10th consecutive UK championship crown can act as the perfect platform to launch a successful bid to secure a medal at next year’s London Olympics.
For the best part of the last decade, the 29-year-old Newmarket-born athlete has been largely untouchable on home shores in women’s javelin events, along with mixing it with the best of them across the globe in many major international competitions.
But following a below-par performance at this year’s World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea, where she could only muster a 10th place finish, the Belgrave Harrier is keen to put the record straight and get back on the right track in the run-up to the Games.
Up until her no-show in Asia, the former King’s School, Ely pupil had claimed victory in both the Memorial Primo Nebiolo, in Italy and the CAU Inter Counties Championships in Bedford.
“I was disappointed by my performance in the final of the World Championships,” said Sayers. “I made a few technical changes and they did not quite pay off.”
“My form going into the world championships was ok. It was not quite as good as I was hoping for. It was a solid year nonetheless though, considering I had a knee operation earlier on in the year.
“I’m the only person to ever win nine straight UK titles. I know other athletes have won 10 titles, but none consecutively, so if I can achieve that I will be very proud.”
After only throwing 58.18m in the final of the World Championships back in September, Sayers knows she will have to return to throwing similar distances to that of her British record of 65.75m, achieved three years ago at the Beijing Olympics, if she is to challenge the principals next summer.
“Next year I want to breaking my personal best and be constantly throwing in the mid to late 60m range.
“It is going to be tough to medal at the Olympics as the event has moved on over the last couple of years.
“I think to medal you are going to be looking a throwing a distance in the late-60s. I believe that I can do this.”
Along with putting in hours of training over the winter months, Sayers will also be mindful of staying injury free, something which in the past has proven difficult.
As a result of a hip injury, Sayers was forced to miss out on both last year’s Commonwealth Games and European Athletic Championships, while her early season training this year was hampered by a knee injury.
“It’s been a difficult last 18 months as I have picked up several injuries but my body feels in good shape at present,” commented Sayers. “The next six months will see a lot of hard training. When their is an Olympics on you get that added motivation and you push yourself that bit harder to perform.
“The main thing though will be to stay fit and healthy and make it to the Games.”
Although hoping to be among the leading protagonists next July, the Olympian is hoping that whatever result she achieves it will be one that in years to come she can look back on with pride.
“The main thing for me will be able to put in the best performance I can for my home crowd.
“Not many athletes ever get the chance to compete at their home Games and I know a lot of other ex-athletes who would love to be in the position I am in, You have to take these chances with both hands as you will only get one chance in your lifetime.
“It will be incredibly special to share such a moment with everyone.”