ATHLETICS: England delighted by top honour

Laura Weightman (left) and Hannah England with their outstanding achievement awards for becoming the first two athletes from the On Camp With Kelly initiative to be selected for an Olympic Games

Laura Weightman (left) and Hannah England with their outstanding achievement awards for becoming the first two athletes from the On Camp With Kelly initiative to be selected for an Olympic Games

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor. Call me on 01865 425451

Hannah England declared herself thrilled to pick up an outstanding achievement award this week.

The Oxford City athlete was awarded the honour at a ‘celebration of success’ event, which marked nine years of the On Camp with Kelly initiative.

Set up by double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes in January 2004, more than 80 female middle-distance runners have taken part in the scheme, which gives them the chance to achieve their ambitions of becoming international athletes.

England was among the first to be picked, something that is not lost on the World Championship silver medallist.

Both her and Laura Weightman picked up outstanding achievement awards for becoming the first athletes on the scheme to make an Olympic Games.

England’s coach, Bud Baldaro, was also recognised.

“It was obviously really nice to be involved with and to get recognised – I was thrilled,” said the 25-year-old.

“The On Camp with Kelly scheme definitely helped me to learn a lot, and quickly. To speak to someone like Kelly who has won Olympic gold medals and for her to tell you about both her and your mistakes is great for an athlete.

“It definitely played a massive role in helping me get where I have done."

England’s main aim for 2013 are the World Championships in Moscow, Russia, in August.

But for now she has several other issues on her mind.

“I get married just after Christmas, so it’s nice to have that all going on,” she said.

“And I have literally just walked out of my driving theory test too so at the moment while I am doing winter training, there are other things going on which is nice because it does mean you can switch off a bit.

“Mentally you need a break.”

She added: “I go to Kenya straight after my honeymoon to get a block of training in.

“The World Championships are my aim this year and so everything will be geared around being in the best-possible shape for them.”

England reached the semi-finals of the 1,500m at the London Olympics, but could not get through to the final.

It’s something she still looks back on with disappointment, but admits just being part of the Olympic experience is something she will always remember.

“It was gutting not to be able to perform quite as well as I hoped, but being there was a great experience for me,” she added.

“Hopefully though there are more big events in the future for me to be part of.”

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