Lawrence Clarke bidding to be the best in Birmingham
By Rob Stevens • Published 14 Jun 2012 15:02 0 Comments
click to enlarge
Olympics hopeful Lawrence Clarke, right, in action in Geneva.
- Track time key to Nicola Sanders Olympics dream
- Lawrence Clarke exorcises World Championship demons to reach 2012 London Olympic Games semi-finals
- Nigel Devine set to be named in Great Britain's 2012 London Olympics relay squad
- Athletic stars recognised in 2012 National Rankings
- Alex Chan set to rub shoulders with Andy Murray at ATP World Tour Finals
WINDSOR, Slough, Eton & Hounslow Athletics Club sprint hurdle star Lawrence Clarke is the defending champion and the fastest man in Britain this season - but admits he must speed up if he is to reach the London 2012 Olympics.
The 22-year-old romped to a second-place finish in Geneva at the start of the month, clocking a new personal best of 13.33 seconds to edge to the top of the 2012 national rankings.
The race for the three British Olympic 110 metre hurdles spots could not be fiercer at present with Clarke's training partner Andrew Pozzi in fine form this season while world bronze medallist Andy Turner and William Sharman are also in the hunt.
And, while Clarke is currently the quickest of the lot and claimed the national crown last year - albeit in Turner's absence, he is convinced that if he stops and stands still for a moment he will be left behind at the Aviva 2012 Trials later this month.
"I'm pleased with my performance and with getting a personal best but the competition is so good at the moment I'd be disappointed if I wasn't performing like this," he said.
"It's more a case of boosting the confidence and knowing that I'm able to produce times like that - but to get to the London 2012 Olympics it's going to take at least that kind of time."
Clarke continued: "Training with Andrew Pozzi has been great this season, he's in fantastic form and we've been pushing each other on and on.
"Andrew will run fast at the trials and of course you have Andy Turner in there as well, and I believe Will Sharman will run a quick time so I have to raise my game.
"I love running in Birmingham and as the defending champion I will be under a bit of pressure, but I enjoy the challenge of chasing people down and it helps with my times."
While Clarke, the 2010 Commonwealth bronze medallist, is currently in the box seat, plenty can change before the Olympic trials in Birmingham - set to be the most competitive for 20 years - where at least one of the big four is going to be disappointed.
And, while the results at the Alexander Stadium could leave UKA head coach Charles van Commenee with some difficult decisions to make, he admits he would not have it any other way.
"I am looking forward to the Aviva 2012 Trials," said van Commenee. "There is a depth in the sport that we have not seen for 20 years and we have a number of events where five or six athletes are competing for three places.
"It doesn't take a genius to work out the maths and athletes will need to be at the very top of their game at the Olympic Trials if they want to make the team for London 2012."
Back the team and watch over 750 British best athletes at the Aviva 2012 Trials in Birmingham from 22-24 June.
For tickets visit www.uka.org.uk/aviva-series or call 08000 55 60 56.