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pocket rocket shoots into form ahead of Sainsbury's indoor grand prix

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Jenny Meadows

With World and European 800m medals both indoors and outdoors, Jenny Meadows has been one of Britain’s most successful athletes over the last decade.

A string of injuries that followed her European Indoor Gold winning performance in 2011 briefly stopped her in her tracks. But winning her seventh 800m title at the Sainsbury’s Indoor British Championships last weekend, along with two sub-2 minute performances in January, has put a spring back into the step of the ‘Pocket Rocket’ as she prepares for this weekend’s Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix.

Meadows ran a time of 1:59.21 to win comfortably in Vienna on 31 of January and then clinched another victory three days later in Torun, Poland, and the 33 year old admits that she couldn’t have wished for a better start to her 2015 campaign.

She said: “It was just the kind of start I was hoping for. I’ve had a really consistent winter for the first time in three years so I was expecting good performances at the start of the year but for the race in Vienna I literally ran it on my own and was five seconds clear of the next person, so I was a little bit surprised when I saw the time at the end of the race. I don’t normally run that sort of time until my fifth race of the indoor season when I’m peaking.

“It was hard travelling over to Poland, I had two flights and a long journey so just to back that up with another 1:59 on a tired legs was really good.”

Last weekend Meadows stormed to another victory at the Sainsbury’s Indoor British Championships, finishing in a time of 2:01.43. Although she said she was disappointed with the time, she described herself as fit and healthy and ready to put everything into the European Indoor Championships in Prague next month.

“I’m just really glad that I persevered for the last three years” she said. “Sometimes you think you’re never going to get back.”

Meadows enjoyed a month long training camp in South Africa alongside her coach and husband Trevor Painter as well as the rest of her training group and puts her recent form largely down to the hard work put in abroad.

“I had a really good month in South Africa” she said. “I’ve learned over the years what works best for me and because of the injury problems I’ve had I train a lot smarter now. I kept looking at Trevor and saying ‘wow another good session’ but I didn’t want to get too carried away.

“I put a really good month of training in and prepared really well for the indoor season. It’s only a short season over five weeks so it’s paramount that the training in South Africa went well and we got everything out of that trip that we hoped we would so it put me in a good position.”

The 2009 World Championships bronze medalist is relishing the chance to compete at the Barclaycard Arena on the same track as where she broke Kelly Holmes’ British indoor 800m record in 2010.

She continued: “I’ve watched from the side-lines for a couple of years and wished I was in the race and last year I was in the race but just wasn’t myself, which isn’t a nice position to be in.

“Five years ago at this event I got the British record which was really nice and the race that I did in Vienna was only a tenth of a second slower than that. It’s unbelievable to think it’s been five years since then! Obviously I won the Grand Prix the year after in 2011 which was great but it’s been five years since I was in that sort of shape.

“It’s my favourite indoor competition of the year; I love the crowd and track in Birmingham so I’ll be hoping for another world class performance there.”