University of Bath-based hurdler Lawrence Clarke was today (Tuesday) named in the 32-strong Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team to compete at next month’s European Indoor Championships in Paris.
Clarke will contest the 60m hurdles at the championships a week before his 21st birthday.
Clarke trains at the University of Bath Sports Training Village under the experienced eye of Malcolm Arnold, UK Athletics’ national events coach – hurdles, the man who coached both Colin Jackson and Uganda’s John Akii-Bua.
He didn’t originally plan to contest the indoor season, but clocked the qualifying time for the Europeans at last month’s Aviva International at Glasgow with a personal best of 7.71 seconds in his first race of the season just three days after returning from warm weather training in South Africa.
He followed that up by twice breaking his pb at the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham at the weekend, lowering it to 7.69 seconds.
“I didn’t really plan to do the indoor season, but I’ve run a pb in almost every race,” said the Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow hurdler. “The Europeans have definitely been on my radar since Glasgow, but it wasn’t originally my goal.
“Hopefully if everything goes to plan and I run quicker than my pb, I should be able to make it into the semi-final and hopefully the final in Paris,” he said. “There are a lot of people there who are quicker than me, but if I make it into the final, I will have nothing to lose.
“I’ve got to go there and trust in myself. I’ve been running consistently and I’ve got the potential to run close to my lifetime best. I always seem to pull it out at championships and I’ll be extremely happy if I can make it into the top-eight,” said Clarke, who struck gold in the 110m hurdles at the 2009 European Junior Championships and bronze for England at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games
“The best thing about hurdles is anything can happen,” he added. “It’s always an open race because anything can go wrong – someone can have a poor start or hit a hurdle.”
Clarke is joined in the squad by Marilyn Okoro, a University of Bath French and Politics graduate. She is selected for the 800m and the 4×400m relay.
The European Indoor Championships run from 4-6 March.
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