The 400m hurdler’s World Indoors performance gives her confidence as she works toward the Commonwealth Games
Eilidh Doyle says her year so far has been “better than expected” and so she heads into next month’s Commonwealth Games feeling confident with another medal – world indoor 400m bronze – recently added to her collection.
The 31-year-old clocked 51.60 behind USA’s Courtney Okolo and Shakima Wimbley in Birmingham and was delighted with her podium place, particularly as the event was not a firm part of the plan.
“In order to be ready for the Commonwealth Games in April we planned a full indoor season, not really targeting the World Indoors, just thinking that if I was running well enough to make the team that would be great because it would give me some extra races,” she explains.
“Things have already gone better than expected and I have started the year with a medal. So that gives me confidence going forward, knowing that my flat speed is there.
“Having done well on the flat it’s now about getting my rhythm right and my hurdling right in the hope that I can go out to Australia and run a good time there.”
The Scottish athlete is looking forward to her third Commonwealth Games, having won silver medals in Delhi in 2010 and in Glasgow in 2014.
“I loved Delhi and it was my first multi sports event,” she reflects on her Games debut. “It was a huge learning curve and to go and get my first medal was brilliant.”
But the 2014 Games were something else.
“Glasgow 2014 was just incredible,” she says. “My big highlight was the lap of honour, not so much winning the silver medal.
“While winning the Europeans was a bigger achievement than the Glasgow silver medal, Glasgow was a better experience – the lap of honour, the stadium and the atmosphere were just incredible and something I don’t think I’ll ever experience again.
“London 2012 was big. But for Scottish athletes, Glasgow was extra special.”
On the challenge of planning for three major events – the World Indoors, Commonwealth Games and European Championships – in one year, she explains: “We always knew that this year was going to be a bit tricky in terms of planning with the Commonwealths being so early in the year.
“We pretty much started hurdling when I came back after the break in October. We’ve had to adapt because obviously I’m not in the right shape to run what I would normally run so I’ve just been concentrating on stride patterns and if it was windy we would adjust the hurdles, trying to replicate my stride pattern, day in day out.”
Doyle has so far collected 10 relay medals for GB and one thing which will be different about Gold Coast is that she will be running for Scotland rather than Britain.
“We have got a Scottish team out there which will be really strong,” she says, but she admits that it will be strange to see athletes such as Anyika Onuora and Emily Diamond and then realise they are not her team-mates this time.
She jokes: “I’ll just have to be careful that I don’t pass one of them the baton!”