‘Fit and fast’ the aim for England with Moscow in mind

World silver medallist Hannah England looks forward to building on her healthy start to the season ahead of the World Championships this summer

Hannah England (Mark Shearman)

She recorded her fastest-ever season opener with 4:03.38 over 1500m at the Prefontaine Classic at the beginning of June and went on to clock 2:01.42 over 800m for third at the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games a week later.

It’s been an ideal start to the season for world silver medallist and London 2012 Olympian Hannah England and she agrees she’s in a good place in terms of fitness and racing form at this stage of the year.

A similar place, she admits, to where she was at around this point in 2012 before she was spiked in the Achilles in Hengelo, putting to an end any Olympic medal ambitions.

Having finished the race, obtaining the Olympic qualifying standard on the way, she made it to London 2012 not wanting to miss out on a home Games, but the injury had taken its toll and she finished ninth in the 1500m semi-finals.

“It was a real shame last year,” the 26-year-old reflects. “I put in a lot of work but so did my friends, my family, my coach, my training partners and it was very disappointing for all of us not to be able to get really very much out of it.”

But now, with a healthy start to the season including two ‘A’ qualifying standards for the IAAF World Championships under her belt, England is looking forward to proving herself with Moscow in mind, where she’ll be aiming to go one better than her world silver from Daegu in 2011.

“Everyone has committed to my goals as much again this year as they did in 2012 and I think I just want to prove to myself and everyone else that I can perform really well again,” she said.

“I’m just trying to be as fit and as fast as I can can to cope with whatever might be thrown at me in the races.

“Training has been going really well,” she added. “It’s hard, after last year, and I’m trying not to take it for granted but I’m really lucky to be again in a really good position with my fitness and my racing form at this time of year. I’m  just looking to build on that towards hopefully making the World Championships.”

England is next in action at this weekend’s European Team Championships where she’ll join the likes of team captain Perri Shakes-Drayton and double Olympic champion Mo Farah in Gateshead as the GB team seek success in what is the first major athletics championships in the UK since the London 2012 Games.

“I’m really excited, it’s my third time running in the European Team event and I love it,” commented England. “I think it’s a really fun event and it’s exciting to run for Great Britain.

“I think we’re going to do really well,” she added. “We’ve got a good mix of experience and young athletes coming through.”

An early-season target of England’s was to cement her spot on the team ahead of fellow 1500m runners Lisa Dobriskey and Laura Weightman, who have also run the Worlds ‘A’ standard, and she admits having such competition domestically is a real benefit in terms of not getting complacent.

“All winter you’re training away thinking it’s not just a matter of running the ‘A’ standard, you’ve then also got to be in the top three in your country and I think that’s a massive advantage that we’ve got as a country in the women’s 1500m over some of the other nations,” she explains.

“Some of the other girls, all they know they’ve got to do is get the ‘A’ standard. I’m sure they’ve got bigger aspirations, but the fear factor of knowing that there’s numerous other girls out there just in your country trying to do the same thing, it keeps you on your toes.”

» You can find GB team for the European Team Championships in Gateshead listed here. There are still some tickets available, see www.gateshead2013.com

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