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Meadows to use Aviva Series 2012 as fuel to fire dual medal assault

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Jenny Meadows

09 January 2012

World and reigning European bronze medallist Jenny Meadows has set her sights on dual major titles this year after announcing her intentions to compete at both the Aviva International Match and Aviva Grand Prix.

Meadows, who is affectionately known as the ‘Pocket Rocket’, will kick-start her 2012 season at Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall on 28 January – an event she has won for the last four years – before travelling south of the border to the West Midlands to compete at Birmingham’s NIA on 18 February.

The 30-year-old endured a mixed season last year, taking silver in the 800m and 4x400m relay at the European Indoor Championships in March before  narrowly missing out on a place in the two-lap final at the World Championships in Daegu in September by just .09 seconds.

Meadows was in fantastic form in the run-up to the Championships in South Korea, winning her first national title at the Aviva UK Trials and Championships in July and taking the coveted Diamond Race title for her outstanding performance in the elite Samsung Diamond League series.

But the Wigan athlete is determined not to dwell on the disappointment of Daegu and will target the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, then the London Olympic Games, as the ideal opportunities to break her major championships title duck.

Meadows, who is also expected to compete at the Aviva Indoor UK Trials and Championships on 11-12 February, said: “It’s quite surreal that it’s finally 2012, for so long it seemed like a date that would just never arrive. As athletes we train in four-year cycles and I remember so clearly starting this cycle back in 2009. To think that the Olympics are now just a few months away is both exciting and a little bit nerve-wracking.

“Now that 2012 is finally here I want to make sure I stay in top shape and focus on every last training session, every competition along the way. At the moment the Olympics are still a little way off in my mind – I’ve got the indoor season to concentrate on first but then I’ll really start thinking about the summer.

“I’ve competed at the Aviva International Match a number of times before and I always find it quite a nerve-wracking event because it’s the first competition out of winter training and the first opportunity to really judge yourself against the rest of the world.

“The Aviva Grand Prix is a crucial meet on my calendar, it’s always one of the last events before the World Indoor Championships. In 2010 I had a great result in Birmingham, which led to a really good World Indoors for me so I’ll be hoping for the same this year.

“It’s always a good feeling to know you’re starting a race in a positive frame of mind and with some good races and real confidence behind you.”

The turn of the year has thrust the entire country into Olympics overdrive and Meadows is acutely aware that all eyes are now on Britain’s 2012 hopefuls.

In fact, her appearance at the Aviva International Match this month – her ninth in Glasgow in total – will be the final time she dons the Aviva GB & NI vest on home soil ahead of the Games.

But Meadows refuses to succumb to the pressure of avenging her South Korean setback and believes an open mind will be key to World Indoor Championship and Olympic success.

She added: “Daegu obviously didn’t quite go as planned – I was shocked by the result and it did hit me hard for a while but I try not to dwell on it, all I can do is keep pushing for better results.

“I can’t let one competition get me down, I’ve had an incredibly successful couple of years and I’m confident that I’m on the right track ahead leading into London.

“I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself in 2012 – obviously everyone wants to do well, especially in your home country, but I don’t want to feel any pressure over it. I’m just taking things one step at a time and before we know it, we’ll be in the athlete village getting ready to race – it’s a really exciting time.”

Meadows will be joined in Glasgow by 5000m world champion Mo Farah and world 1500m silver medallist Hannah England, while in Birmingham sprint star Asafa Powell will headline a blockbuster field set to contest the world’s premier indoor athletics event.

The Aviva International Match will be at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow on 28 January and will be shown live on BBC1 from 1:30pm. For tickets go to uka.org.uk/aviva-series or phone 08000 556 056.

The sold-out Aviva Grand Prix will be at the NIA in Birmingham on 18 February and will be shown live on BBC 1 from 1:30pm.

For more information on both events visit uka.org.uk/aviva-series.