She’s trained with Sally Pearson and has a solid season of competition under her belt, now sprint hurdler Louise Wood is determined to put injury woes behind her with Commonwealth success
Sprint hurdler Louise Wood has been unveiled as one of 13 Kukri Commonwealth Games England ambassadors and admits she’s looking forward to the chance Glasgow 2014 could give her to right some wrongs.
Having snapped her Achilles tendon in May 2012, any hopes that the then heptathlete might have had of competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games came crashing down. Out for the remainder of the season, she spent two months on crutches and a substantial amount of time, as she explains, “coming to terms with the fact that what I wanted to achieve that season was clearly not going to happen”.
Fast forward a year and a half and Wood is determined to put her injury woes behind her. Finishing third behind Tiffany Porter and Serita Solomon at the UK trials in a season the 30-year-old doubted she might even have had is promising, she admits, although adds that her times could have been better.
“To be fair, I should be really happy with what’s happened this season,” she says, “and I am, but being a competitive athlete, I want more.
“To run two tenths of a second off my personal best 12 months post my snap, I’m pretty happy with that.”
Speaking to AW 10 days into a new partnership with Brunel-based coach Ian Grant, Wood praised a period of training in Australia at the beginning of the year which saw her join forces with Sharon Hannan, the coach with whom Olympic champion Sally Pearson has just confirmed a split after 14 years.
“I found myself training with Sally Pearson and being coached by Sharon who is absolutely amazing, it did me the world of good,” Wood explains. “Training went so well – I got there on January 1 and I hadn’t even jogged at that point. By March we decided that I was in a good enough place to compete.
“I didn’t think I would even make the final of our world trials here. I just thought this season would be about getting back into it and growing in confidence as it was my first season as just a sprint hurdler,” she adds, with her injury leaving her unable to jump straight back into the heptathlon.
With her previous coach, Julie Hollman, having moved with UKA to Loughborough, Wood sought a new coach to enable her to continue working and training in London.
“He’s technically sound,” says Wood of Grant. “We’ve got plans in place. Next year I’d like to do a bit of indoors but obviously the focus will be getting some good races in to qualify for the Games.”
As the countdown to the Games continues, Wood admits she gains confidence from the fact that she has been named alongside 2006 triple jump Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Nadia Williams as one of just two Kukri Commonwealth Games England ambassadors from the sport of athletics.
“It is an honour,” she says. “It’s been nice to meet people from different sports and I have a bit more of an appreciation for the fact that I got chosen out of a lot of people to represent track and field.
“I’ve had quite an up-and-down career, as most athletes do, and last year was quite a low point for me, so for Kukri to have the faith in me and give me that bit of confidence to say ‘no, we’re going to support you’, it’s been the boost I needed.”
And her targets, should she make it to Glasgow?
“I’m not going there to fill a lane, I’m going there because I want to be on the podium,” she says.
“I know that it’s where I can kind of right the wrongs that have happened.
“I’m quite an unknown entity to be honest with you. I’ve only done one season as just a hurdler, I’ve been injured and I don’t really know what my personal best is at this stage because I ran my personal best when I was training for six other events. I’m now training for one event and I’m fit.
“Even to myself I’m not 100% sure of what I’m capable of just yet.”
» Kukri is the Official Kit Supplier to Commonwealth Games England