London 2012 hopes of the 2008 Olympic 400m hurdles bronze medallist hang in the balance
Tasha Danvers will make a decision in the next week about whether to compete in the Aviva 2012 Trials and Championships in Birmingham. If the 400m hurdler pulls out, then it is also likely to coincide with her retirement from the sport.
The 34-year-old has struggled with injury since winning Olympic bronze at the 2008 Games in Beijing. Being a Londoner, she has sacrificed the last year of her life in a bid to make the British team, but she is struggling for fitness on the eve of the British Trials and has not raced this year.
“I’ll make the decision in the next few days,” she said, at a Mizuno media event in Kew Gardens. “In January we knew things had to go perfectly, but since then it’s been two steps forward and one step back.
“The problem is my Achilles. I had an injection into it in May but when I try to hurdle it gets a bit hairy. And being a hurdler that’s a bit of a problem!”
Danvers has trained in Bath in the run-up to the Games under the expert eye of coach Malcolm Arnold. “Everyone knows that if you join Malcolm’s group then you’re not there for decoration,” Danvers added, referring to her coach’s tough approach to getting athletes ready for championships.
Her seven-year-old son, Jaden, has also been in American while she has pursued her Olympic dream in Britain. But Danvers felt she had to give London 2012 her best shot. “Whatever happens I am at peace,” added Danvers, who in addition to Beijing bronze won the European under-23 title in Gothenberg in 1999. “I know I’ve done the best I can and everything comes to an end at some stage. Even if I make the Games, I will retire this year.”
If Danvers does make the trials, though, and finishes outside the top two but achieves the A standard (55.50), then UKA could potentially give her the third discretionary place in the team. She is an Olympic bronze medallist, after all, and when she took that medal four years ago she had also endured a disrupted build-up to the Games and was beaten by Perri Shakes-Drayton at the trials.
Danvers was also an Olympic finalist in 2000 but missed the 2004 Games due to pregnancy.
» Tasha Danvers was talking from a Mizuno photo-shoot staged outside the Japanese Gateway in Kew Gardens. The new Mizuno Seiei Collection is a perfect blend of ancient craftsmanship from Japan and advanced modern technology. Visit www.mizunoseiei.com