Olympics put Laura on track to success
Published at 09:11, Monday, 20 August 2012
AN OLYMPIC final is just the beginning of a promising athletics career for North-East runner Laura Weightman.
The 21-year-old surpassed all expectations to reach the 1500m showdown in the Olympic Stadium on Friday evening in what was her first ever major championships.
Although she finished back in 11th place, her performances throughout London 2012 endeared herself to a nation and big things are now expected of her.
Being coached by Olympic silver medallist, and North Tyne resident, Steve Cram for the past three years, Laura’s running has come on leaps and bounds and she is well positioned to push on and challenge in coming years.
During the summer months, Laura and Steve spend many hours pounding the running track at Wentworth Leisure Centre, in Hexham, and the hard work was obviously paying dividends with her remarkable Olympic debut.
It all started well for Laura as she looked comfortable in the first round, sailing through in a time of four minutes and 7.29 seconds to claim the sixth automatic spot.
She displayed great maturity to do what she needed to get through, joining fellow Brits Hannah England and Lisa Dobriskey in the semi-finals.
It was not as plain sailing in the semi, though, a last gasp head dip on the finishing line seeing her progress to the final in the most dramatic fashion.
The Morpeth Harrier ran a personal best of 4:02.99 and deserved her place in the grand finale.
However, there was initially some doubt about whether she had done enough as she and rival Lucia Klocova, of Slovakia, crossed the line at the same time.
It went down to thousandths of a second, with Laura finishing just ahead of Lucia to get seventh spot and what many thought was the final fastest losers’ position. Later, it transpired that eighth was good enough too.
In the earlier semi-final, Dobriskey had earned a final berth but an injury ravaged season prevent England making it through.
After the exertions of two nights previous, Laura seemed to run out of steam a little by the time the final came about.
In a slow race, she failed to make her way up the pecking order and her trademark late burst was lacking also.
She finished in 11th with a time of 4:15.60 but she can be proud of how far she came in her first Olympics in front of a demanding home crowd. Laura finished just one place behind teammate Dobriskey.
Now that she has got a major tournament under her belt, expect Laura to go on to bigger and better things in the very near future.
Published by http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk
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