With a little hep from her friends!

PUBLISHED: 13:16 02 March 2007 | UPDATED: 22:37 28 May 2010

Louise Hazel in action

Louise Hazel in action

THIS year could be the biggest so far for March heptathlete Louise Hazel - and the Cambs Times will be supporting her all the way. Louise, 21, who is living, studying and training in France, has her sights on the European Under-23 Championships and, poten

Pics: Mark Shearman

THIS year could be the biggest so far for March heptathlete Louise Hazel - and the Cambs Times will be supporting her all the way.

Louise, 21, who is living, studying and training in France, has her sights on the European Under-23 Championships and, potentially, the IAAF World Championships, in Osaka, in August - the biggest stage in athletics bar the Olympics.

And the Cambs Times has backed Louise with a sponsorship cheque that will help her bid to qualify for the Great Britain team travelling to Japan.

Louise said: "It is great for the Cambs Times to help me in this way and it has come at just the right time.

"I am just about to begin warm weather training in Portugal after taking a break from indoor training. I was ill over the Christmas period and so I took time out to recover.

"But now I feel better than I have done in ages and I set a personal best in one of my gym exercises, the clean lift, last week."

With two major tournaments in Louise's 2007 calendar, she recognises the importance of effective preparation. She said: "These next few weeks are going to lay the foundations for the whole season and so I am taking them very seriously."

Louise will be making a fleeting visit to Britain next week when she represents Birmingham University in the BUSA Indoor Championships, being held Sheffield.

And then it will be back to France to compete for the Martigues Club, from Marseilles, in an inter-club championships in May.

Louise said: "At the moment, I am concentrating on speed-based work. I will be competing in the high jump and javelin in the inter-club championships.

"I will be looking to get close to a personal best in those events."

Louise will be appearing in her first heptathlon in early June as she aims for success in the European Under-23 Championships, in July.

She said: "I am going for a medal in the Europeans but things will depend on the level of competition."

However, the ultimate goal this year is qualifying for the IAAF World Championships, which begin on August 25. Louise said: "To get to Japan, I need to reach the 'A' Standard of 6,000 points.

"I have already achieved the 'B' Standard of 5,800 points and, if all goes well, I will reach the 6,000 mark, but I don't want to put too much pressure on myself.

"You can lose focus if you are concentrating on points rather than your performances, so I am just going to continue to work hard and take it from there.

"The size of the British heptathlon squad for the World Championships has not been decided yet but that could also be a factor on whether I go or not.

"Kelly Sotherton and Jessica Ennis will definitely go but if there are only three places in total, the selectors will have to pick either myself or Julie Hollman.

"But a fourth place may be made available to give me the experience of competing at the very highest level.

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