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bakare wants more medal success in 2015

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Sabrina Bakare

30 April 2015

After two summer seasons which have delivered world age-group medals, Sabrina Bakare (coach: Jane Dixon) has set her sights on European Junior Championship success this year in the 400m and the relay.

The Loughborough-based athlete burst onto the scene in 2013 when she claimed a surprise 400m gold medal in the World Youth Championships in Donetsk. Bakare has fond memories of the event where she made her international bow.

“It was literally the best championships. I remember that race so well and it still gives me butterflies. It was my first major championship so I didn’t really have any pressure on me. I remember crossing that line and seeing all the cameras – it was just so amazing”, says the 18 year old who recorded her personal best of 52.77 in the final.

“I got out there and did what I needed to do as I had no concept of the world rankings then. It was the first time I had run three rounds back to back. The World Youths was amazing and I just hope I can replicate that (sort of performance) again.”

However, Bakare, who was part of the silver medal-winning 4x400m team at the World Junior Championships in Eugene last year, admits she did not experience quite the same heights in the individual event last year but is determined to return her best form this summer.

“2014 was a different story. People didn’t put pressure on me but I think I put a bit of pressure on myself. I think I’ve learnt a lot from the last two major championships and this year I’m going in without putting any pressure on myself and be stress-free – I just want to run quickly again.”

This summer’s European Junior Championships take place in Eskilstuna in Sweden and in addition to her individual targets, she is also enthusiastic about been part of the team targeting the British junior 4x400m record this summer which currently stands at 3:30.36 set in 2002.

“The European Juniors are my main target this summer. Hopefully I’ll run the qualifying time for that nice and easy. I’ll be running at the Loughborough International, hopefully for GB & NI Juniors.

“We hope to break the British junior 4x400m record this year. At the World Juniors last year we ran 3:32.00 which is two seconds off the British record. Of course, my aim in the 400m is to get into the final and hopefully come away with a medal, so these are what I am going to focus my season around this year.”

Bakare focused on the 60m during the indoor season to improve her block start in the 400m, and is aware that she has to be at her best because the British 400m women are stepping up their performances this year. She believes this is significant, particularly for the junior women’s relay, but also to push all the athletes to improve further.

“Some of the girls have run really well indoors and have really stepped up, so that really puts us in a good position for our relay team this year. Of course we are all rivals but we do all get on really well as friends outside of athletics.

“When we come together as a unit to represent each other in a 4x400m, we really do know how to work together and run fast. The British record is really in our sights and obviously we want the gold medal.”

Bakare has adjusted to life at Loughborough University and the first year student is enjoying athletics more than ever. With the National Performance Institute based on the University campus, Bakare can access much needed support, which is aided by the British Athletics Futures Programme in 2014/2015 which provides targeted support for athletes and their coaches.

“I can see the track from where I live; it is literally on my doorstep. The atmosphere in Loughborough is great. You have all the athletes such as Adam Gemili and all the big names training, so it is a great environment to be a part of.

It (Futures support) has been such a big help – getting treatment and medical care, going to different talks and workshops, it has really expanded my knowledge on different things. Loughborough is the home of British Athletics, so I can go and meet up with Jo Summers (Development Manager), go to relay camps on campus, the track is just across the road – it really has been very beneficial to me.

Finally, at 18 year-old, Bakare is still a developing British athlete but offered a few words of advice to the 16-17 year athletes who will be seeking to earn selection for the IAAF World Youth Championships in July, and will be aspiring to follow in Bakare’s golden footsteps.

“I would say to them just relax and enjoy yourself. Don’t change anything you’ve not done before so don’t adapt your warm-up, don’t eat new foods, and don’t work yourself up about competing on the world stage. The less pressure you put on yourself, the better athlete you will be. Just enjoy the moment and be proud to represent your county.”

Sabrina Bakare is one of 34 athletes supported by the British Athletics Futures Programme 2014/2015 which provides targeted support for athletes and their coaches.