Oxford MailOLYMPICS: Clarke - Bring on Rio (From Oxford Mail)

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OLYMPICS: Clarke - Bring on Rio

Oxford Mail: Lawrence Clarke Lawrence Clarke

LAWRENCE Clarke has set his sights on Olympic gold after his superb fourth place in the 110m hurdles final.

The 22-year-old, from Christmas Common, finished 0.27 seconds off a medal on Wednesday night as American Aries Merritt took the title.

Clarke grew in confidence after a clinical display in his heat and clocked a personal best 13.31 to reach the final.

“My dream is to win Olympic gold and the peak age is 26-30, so I am four years off that,” he said.

“The next Olympics and the one after that are what I’m targeting.

“This stadium in 2017 will hopefully be the place where I am targeting the gold medal in the World Championships.”

Clarke added: “Obviously Aries Merritt ran 12.92, which is pretty world class.

“He’s 27 and hopefully at the Rio Olympic Games when I am 26, I will be able to push for places like he does.

“I was one of the smaller people in that race.

“All those guys have been working for years on their strength and conditioning.

“I only started when I was almost 19 years old, so I really haven’t had that strength base these guys have.

“I need to be able to pick it up in the middle of the race.

“Hopefully, over the next four years I will be able to do that.

“Hopefully I will go to the World Championships in Beijing in 2015 and see what that Olympic track is like.

“Then hopefully that will set me up for 2016 in Rio.”

Clarke, who has been dubbed the ‘toff of the track’ due to his aristocratic background, was a comparative unknown, but that has now changed.

“I have always felt I have slipped under the radar a bit in British athletics,” said Clarke, who won Commonwealth bronze in 2010.

“To be on that startline as the only Brit was a bit wierd when everyone was shouting come on Team GB and I knew it was me.

“It gave me such confidence to know that the whole crowd was behind me and to be alongside my heroes as well was crazy.”

Clarke added: “The support I had in the first round was the most important thing.

“I was so nervous for the first round. Each round when it progressed, I became less and less nervous, mainly because it was a dream come true to be in the semis.

“Being in the final, I had nothing to lose.”

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