ATHLETICS: Clarke keeping focused for Glasgow

Oxfordshire hope Lawrence Clarke

Oxfordshire hope Lawrence Clarke

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter specialising in Rugby, Cricket and Athletics. Call me on 01865 425456

LAWRENCE Clarke will not allow himself to look beyond the Commonwealth Games as he prepares for two championships in three weeks.

The 24-year-old sprint hurdler (pictured below), from Christmas Common, near Watlington, runs for England at Glasgow 2014 and then Britain at the European Championships in Zurich.

Although he could contend for a medal at both, the Commonwealth 110m hurdles on Tuesday is his immediate focus.

“I know what the plan is in terms of training,” said Clarke. In terms of the way I am preparing, I am not thinking about the Europeans yet.

“I have to just focus on the Commonwealth Games and recalibrate after that.

“There will still be two weeks before the European Championships.

“The Commonwealth Gam-es is only two rounds, so it will be more like an international in many ways.”

Clarke added: “I hope I can get a good run in the first round. I think 13.5 might be enough to make the final and I am very capable of doing that.

“I have just got to hold it together and if I get in the final, piece the whole race together.”

Competition is likley to be stiffer at the Europeans, where Clarke may well need to break his personal best of 13.31secs to win a medal.

“In my opinion, Zurich is pretty much the home of athletics,” he said. “The hurdles world record has been set there so many times.

“There have been more 12.9s run on that track than anywhere else in the world.”

He added: “The question I always ask myself is: What time will win a medal?

“In my opinion, 13.20 will probably win it. It is not an impossible target.”

Clarke was well outside the ten fastest hurdlers prior to London 2012, but his greater consistency saw him go close to a medal.

There are likely to be many quicker than him on paper again when he lines up in Zurich, but Clarke won’t let that bother him.

“Even though someone has run 13.1, they may run 13.3 or 13.4 in the championship because the pressure has got to them,” he said.

“The beauty of the hurdles is that anything can happen. These people are beatable.”

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