SHELAYNA OSKAN-CLARKE has backed herself to reach an Olympic final having qualified for Team GB for the Rio 2016 Games.

Oskan-Clarke, 26, set her sights on the Olympic Games after a breakthrough year in 2015 which saw the 800m runner finish fifth at the World Championships in Beijing with a new personal best time of 1:58.86.

The WSEH Athletics Club star qualified for Rio with victory at the Olympic Trials in June, and she is now focused on giving her all and compete against the best in the world.

Oskan-Clarke told the Observer: “Essentially it is just another race so I need to remind myself of that when I’m on the track, but it’s the Olympics so it is going to be heightened.

“There are going to be a lot more people and the atmosphere is going to be more tense, but I just have to stay confident in what I can do, go out and perform to my best.

“I think you get nervous before any event, it’s just being able to control that, and I don’t feel pressure. I probably put pressure on myself to do what it is I can do but it’s not the pressure rising, it is just wanting to perform to your best.

“All I can do is my best and that’s all I will do on the day. I will just go out there and give it my all.

“I will take it each round as it comes but obviously I want to be in the final. Essentially I need to get through the rounds first so I need to focus on the heats, then the next round. I do want to be in the final and I think I’m capable of doing that.”

The former Baylis Court School pupil added: “I don’t see expectation as a bad thing if you are capable of running a certain time.

Slough Observer:

PHOTO: Shelayna Oskan-Clarke: “I train hard day by day and I would like to go out there and perform to my very best. I think I can be in contention with the top girls.

“I suppose it’s how you perceive expectation. Some people see it as pressure and others as support. I don’t see it as pressure. It’s great that people have expectations of me because they obviously think that I’m capable of doing great things.

“Last year was a big thing and 2016 is even bigger, but I’ve equipped myself and trained hard. I’m sure I can give it my all and come out on top.

“Essentially when I get out on the track I just have to do what I can do and only I can control that, so I don’t see it as pressure.

“I train hard day by day and I would like to go out there and perform to my very best. I think I can be in contention with the top girls.

“When I’m there I will be really focussing on racing. I won’t be aware of other people or what they are thinking at the time.

“Coming home with an Olympic medal would be just amazing. I would be having a smile on my face for the rest of the year.”

Oskan-Clarke continued: “I’ve managed to get some great training in. Our set up is great and my training has been consistent. I’ve improved in areas that I wasn’t so good at so I know that I’m in a better place.

“I picked up an injury in February, it was just a little niggle, which is normal for an athlete. It changed the plan a bit as I didn’t do an indoor season, but overall my training has been going really well.

“I feel great and I’m in good shape which is why I’m achieving the things that I set out to do. I’m in better shape than I was last year and I know I’m capable of better times and better performances.

“For me, it’s just about getting out there on the day and doing my best, and making the right decisions when I’m on the track. That makes the difference between qualifying and good times, so I’m in a great place.”

Oskan-Clarke will compete in the 800m heats in Rio on Wednesday August 17 with the semi-finals the following day.

The Olympic final will be on Saturday, August 20.