LAURA Weightman has vowed to go all out for victory in the two-day European Team Championships in Gateshead next weekend, writes Daniel Prince.
The Steve Cram-coached Morpeth Harrier came 11th in the 1500m final at last summer’s Olympic Games, and will compete in the 3000m on Saturday, June 22.
Weightman, 21, will be the big local hope in the Great Britain team at Gateshead, and after some good early season form, is confident of a strong run.
“I am quite pleased with where I am at the moment, looking forward to the next few races building up,” she said.
“I think there is more pressure put on me by myself because I want to put in a good performance for the home crowd and give them something to cheer about.
“The home crowd want a home winner, and hopefully I can provide that for them.”
Weightman is part of a star-studded line-up for Great Britain on Tyneside.
Double Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah will compete, as will Greg Rutherford, who picked up the long jump gold medal at London 2012.
Fellow medallists Christine Ohuruogu and Robbie Grabarz will also be on show, along with well-known names Dai Greene, Holly Bleasdale and Perri Shakes-Drayton, who will captain the team.
Weightman is delighted to be lining up alongside such big names, and hopes the people of the North East will come out and support the athletes.
She added: “It is a strong team.
“A lot of the medallists from the Olympics are part of the team so it is good for those who might not have been to London 2012 to come and actually see them competing at a Championships like this.
“I think it is important having Championships like this and events in the country going forwards, because it does remind people of the success of London, and keeps inspiring everyone to take part.”
The Morpeth Harrier is coached by Cram, the Jarrow-born former middle distance runner who won World Championship gold in 1983 and Olympics silver in 1984, and she is full of praise for the impact he has had on her career.
“He has been really good,” Weightman added.
“Steve has achieved everything in the sport so having him there by my side guiding me is really good because he can tell me his experiences and what he went through post-Olympics and post-championships, and building towards the next one getting stronger.
“He just tells me to run well and enjoy racing and just keep reminding myself why I’m doing it.”
Weightman has already achieved the “A” qualifying standard for the 1500m at August’s World Championships in Moscow, is determined to keep improving.
She added: “One day I do want to go forward and get some medals and put in some good performances on the global stage.
“Right now though, I am only in my second season as a senior international so I am just looking to keep building on 2012 and use that as a platform going forward.
“It is nice that people say in the future they can see me winning medals but you can’t get too caught up in that.”
A big crowd is expected for both days of the European Team Championships, although tickets are still available from www.gateshead2013.com