JENNIE Batten is hoping to put her fitness problems behind her and use the experience gained from an injury-hit summer to mount a podium challenge at the European under-23 Championships in 2013, writes Ric Sumner.

The 19-year-old sprinter was inspired by carrying the Olympic Torch through Gloucester on May 24, but after struggling with back and hamstring problems wasn't able to make an impression at the Aviva 2012 Trials in Birmingham.

The Stroud athlete clocked 12.11secs to finish fourth in her heat at the Alexander Stadium, but was happy just to have a run out after a variety of aches and pains curtailed large chunks of her training.

"I wasn't really expecting that much from the trials really because I have not had a lot of luck this year with injuries and things," said Batten, who benefits from being a member of the Lloyds TSB Local Heroes programme.

"To be honest this season is all about getting times because there is no international under-23 championship and so it is all about getting experience of things like the trials.

"I have been to a few AAA's now and that sort of environment doesn't daunt me as much as it used to at all. But this year I wasn't expecting too much from it.

"Next summer there is the European Under-23 Championships and hopefully I will be back to full fitness by then. Throughout my indoor season I had various back injuries, the worse being when some of the vertebrae in my neck locked so I couldn't move my head for a couple of days.

"More recently I have had hamstring strains which I am just coming back from the rehab on so Birmingham was just to see where I am in my training.

"I was only told in my training a week before the champs started and I was just there for some experience and for a training run to be honest."

The 2009 European Youth Olympic Festival 100m and 200m champion is now looking forward to getting stuck into an injury-free winter, from which she hopes to return fitter and stronger to challenge for medals once more next summer.

"Now I am feeling a bit better and I ran ok at the trials from not being 100 percent fit," said the four-time 200m English Schools 200m winner.

"I am pleased with myself so what I have got to do now is work on that for the rest of my season and then go into my winter training and work harder than I ever have worked before then come out next season fighting for some good times and performances."

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