PHOTO SPECIAL: The night Louise showed true Fen courage following disastrous high jump
GUTSY Louise Hazel showed true Fen courage last night as she shrugged off a disastrous high jump to win her 200m heat in the London 2012 heptathlon.
March’s golden girl was holding her head in her hands yesterday lunchtime as she managed only 1.59m in a nightmare high jump session.
But the Commonwealth champion bounced back with stunning performances in the shot put and the 200m.
Cheered on by a raucous home crowd in the Olympic Stadium, Hazel threw 12.81 in the shot put – just a few inches short of her personal best of 12.86.
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 her 200m win, Hazel 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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She added: “It’s always nice to go out by beating the reigning Olympic champion, so I’ll take that one.”
Hazel was one of the first TeamGB track and field athletes to compete in the Olympic Stadium yesterday.
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, behind Ukrainian winner Hanna Mehychenko, and amass 1053 points.
But the high jump disappointment resulted in a meagre return of 724 points, leaving her 37th out of 38 athletes in the heptathlon.
Hazel’s fightback put her in 34th, with the long jump, javelin and 800m to take place today. Her fellow TeamGB star Jess Ennis sat top of the leaderboard overnight.
The former Neale-Wade Community College student, who is rated as a 50/1 long-shot for Olympic gold, 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 spent last week 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 on Sunday night.