BISLEY sprinter Jennie Batten is determined to redouble her efforts to earn a place on the world stage after being inspired by the exploits of Team GB’s athletics star at London 2012, writes Andrew Baber.
The talented 100m and 200m specialist struggled with injuries in 2012, but is targeting next summer’s European Under-23 Championships in Finland and the World University Games in Russia.
And the former Stroud High School pupil is not short of motivation after seeing her heroes land multiple goal medals at the Greatest Show on Earth.
“I was lucky enough to get tickets to the Olympic Stadium on the night Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford won gold, which was a truly remarkable experience,” said Batten, who benefits from being a member of the Lloyds TSB Local Heroes programme.
“I also had tickets on the night of the women’s 200m final, so I got to one of my idols, Alison Felix, win gold, which was really inspiring.
“At the start of this season I felt there was an outside chance at going to the Olympics, although my injuries put paid to that.
“But watching as a spectator just made me want to be out there competing and it is now just a case of persevering and hopefully in four years time I will be ready.”
The 19-year-old, who carried the Olympic torch through Gloucester on May 24, has a tough decision to make, however, with her two targets for 2013 overlapping forcing her to choose one to focus on.
She said: “I’ve not had the best season as I have struggled with multiple injuries, but I’m hoping to qualify for both the European Under-23 Athletics Championships and the World University Games next year.
“It’s a shame they clash as I will have to choose one over the other, but once I’m back to full fitness I will look at the required qualifying standards and decide which one to focus on.
“I am confident I can qualify for both if I get over my injury troubles and get a full season under by belt, but this year has just been one injury after another.”
Neck and hamstring problems hampered Batten’s progress this summer, although she still managed to make the final of both sprints at the Under-23 UK Championships and World Trials.
“I want to have a much better season next year and hopefully medal at either the European Under-23s or the World University Games, but it depends on who else is competing in my age category,” she added.
“I know where I need to improve to run better times and if I work on my sprint start and my speed endurance in the close season then I’ll be there or thereabouts next year.”
Lloyds TSB Local Heroes, in partnership with SportsAid, provides support and funding to 346 of Britain’s most talented developing athletes on their journey to London 2012 and beyond. Since 2008, the programme has supported 1,000 athletes. Follow future stars at facebook.com/lloydstsblocalheroes