The European and Commonwealth medallist watched the London 2012 Olympic Games in awe and now hopes to make an impact himself
Matthew Hudson-Smith attended the London 2012 Olympics and plans to be in the same stadium five years later under rather different circumstances.
“I went to 2012 through a British Athletics scheme called ACE and I watched the 400m final,” he says. “It will be quite different experience to go from watching it on a funded scheme to being part of the team. I’m really looking forward to it and can’t wait to compete in front of a home crowd.”
By 2014 he had developed into an international quarter-miler, clocking 44.97 in a grand prix event in Glasgow and later coming second in the European Championships 400m, as well as winning 4x400m gold for England in the 2014 Commonwealth Games and for Britain in the Europeans.
The Commonwealth Games relay performance was particularly eye-catching as he ran a 44.56 relay split to anchor England to a dramatic win.
His 2015 season was blighted by injury, leaving him going into 2016 with uncertainty. Consequently, his aim had just been to make it to the Olympics.
“Because it was quite a bad injury in 2015, coming into the season we didn’t really have much expectation,” he explains. “We just wanted to get a feel of it and get ready for London. And lo and behold it went better than I expected it to. So I’m quite happy really”.
In Rio he ran the two fastest races of his life for eighth place in an Olympic final that was won in a world record by Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa, but was then part of the relay squad controversially disqualified.
He summed up his times in Rio, saying: “It was definitely a learning experience and something I’ll never forget, particularly coming back from 2015 when I was injured. To get to the Olympic final was very unexpected and a big learning curve.”
He entered 2017 with confidence, saying: “I just want to remain consistent. I have laid a good foundation from 2016. I want to build on it and go from there. The standard of the 400m has gone absolutely ballistic and I just want to be in the mix.
“I have always said that a one-off race is different from a championship and really I just want to get to the championship and mix it up. London 2017 is on our door step and it is what people dream about to compete in front of a home crowd. I would love to do it and the significance for the UK will be great.”
» The 2017 World Para Athletics Championships from July 14-23 and the IAAF World Championships from August 4-13 will bring together 3000 athletes from more than 200 countries. It will be the first time the two events will be hosted by the same city in the same summer. Buy tickets at paraathleticschampionships.com and iaafworldchampionships.com