Louise set to take on best in Europe
MARCH heptathlete Louise Hazel is about to embark on the biggest challenge of her career so far – representing Great Britain in the European Championships. Louise, 20, was informed of her selection to the senior national team and on Monday the final squad
MARCH heptathlete Louise Hazel is about to embark on the biggest challenge of her career so far - representing Great Britain in the European Championships.
Louise, 20, was informed of her selection to the senior national team and on Monday the final squad places were announced for the championships, in Gothenburg, Sweden, which start on Sunday.
It is Louise's recent performances that have attracted the attention of the selectors and her personal best score of 5,887 points, achieved in an international in Berne last week, surpassed the development entry standard of 5,750.
Olympic bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton and Jessica Ennis were the only heptathletes to achieve automatic selection, having both recorded scores in excess of 6,100 points.
However, one heptathlon place was still up for grabs when the selectors met for the final time last weekend and it was Louise who received the all-important phone call.
Louise said: "I am absolutely over the moon to be picked. My performance in
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Berne was so surprising because I knew that I was capable of making an improvement, but not such a massive one in such a short time."
"My coach wasn't at the meeting and so there was less pressure on me. My first day was solid but the second day was brilliant."
In the second day of competition, Louise smashed her previous best long jump with a leap of 6.33m before setting two more personal bests in the javelin and 800m.
This outstanding performance has propelled her to the biggest stage of her career so far and she is preparing to compete with the best athletes in Europe.
Louise said: "I am aiming to just go out there and enjoy it and learn from the occasion.
"I have been training and competing hard in the past few weeks so I would not say I feel 100 per cent but I will rest and prepare myself as best I can for Sweden."
She added: "I am not setting myself any major targets but if I can record a personal best in one of the events I will be absolutely delighted."
After Gothenburg, Louise will be moving to France for a year, as part of her studies at Birmingham University. She said: "I will be working with the national combined events coach in
France and it will be a great place to train.
"I will then concentrate on the World University Games in 2007, when I will be aiming to bring back a medal.