GALLERY: Louise Hazel shows the world her fighting Fen spirit at London 2012 Olympic Games
LOUISE Hazel showed the world her fighting Fen spirit by battling back in the London 2012 women’s heptathlon.
March’s golden girl was holding her head in her hands on Friday after clearing just 1.59m in a nightmare high jump session.
The disastrous event saw her plummet to second last in the leaderboard - but an impressive fight back helped her finish 27th overall.
Cheered on by her family and a raucous home crowd in the Olympic Stadium, the Commonwealth champion began her recovery by throwing 12.81 in the shot put - just a few inches short of her personal best.
She followed that up by powering past reigning Olympic champion Natallia Dobrynska to win her 200m heat, clocking a season’s best of 24.48secs.
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After the win, she told the BBC: “The high jump was a complete and utter disaster, 1.59m - what a shocker.
“I just really wanted to show that I’m a fighter and that I can come back from setbacks.”
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The 26-year-old continued to show that she was a “fighter” on Saturday, starting with a season’s best 5.77 in the long jump, but the best was yet to come.
Hazel produced her most memorable performance by throwing a personal best 47.38 in the javelin.
She then sealed a courageous effort in her first Olympic Games by finishing third in her 800m heat in a time of 2:18.78.
Hazel, rated as a 50/1 for Olympic gold, finished the heptathlon with 5856 points - below her personal best of 6166 from Delhi two years ago. Fellow TeamGB star and Sheffield poster girl Jess Ennis took an incredible gold by amassing 6955 points.
Hazel was one of the first TeamGB track and field athletes to compete in the Olympic Stadium on Friday - and she was given a huge reception.
She clocked 13.48secs in the 100m hurdles - about two-and-a-half tenths of a second outside her personal best. The time was good enough to see her finish fourth in her heat, behind Ukrainian winner Hanna Mehychenko.
The former Neale-Wade Community College student had previously said she was ready to savour the experience of a home Games.
“I have always dreamed of competing in the Olympics since I first took up athletics,” she said.
“It has been a long and hard journey to get to this point. I’ve trained and worked for it all my life and I’m very grateful to be a part of the Games.
“It’s a clich� to say it is a once in a lifetime opportunity but that is the way I see it.”
Hazel prepared for the heptathlon in TeamGB’s holding camp in Portugal with the rest of the track and field squad.
She also starred in a special Olympics version of Channel 4’s Come Dine With Me, which was screened last Sunday night.