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Parsons Trials Target

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Tom Parsons
Parsons - PB at Olympic trials in 2008


02 July 2009

The 25-year-old set a new personal best of 2.30m to take victory at the UKA event last year, and in the process secured his place at the Olympics in Beijing.

This time around he will have to clear 2.31m – a new personal best – to guarantee his place in the Aviva Great Britain & Northern Ireland team bound for the IAAF World Championships in Berlin in August.

Parsons said:  “I’d hope to improve year on year, so the fact I have to achieve another personal best to secure qualification for Berlin is not a problem for me. My training has been going okay this year, especially as it’s taken me a bit longer to get my timing sorted as I missed the indoor season with a heel injury. I’m definitely stronger than last year, so I expect to keep improving.

“I’m definitely capable of jumping 2.31m – I was capable last year but just didn’t quite manage it. It’s definitely there, it’s just whether I can nail it technically. Obviously if the weather is really nice I’ve got a great chance as good conditions definitely help.”

A finalist at the Beijing Olympics last year, Parsons finished eighth, but felt he could have done even better if he had been feeling his best.

He said: “A top five finish at the World Championships is the goal this year. I think that would be realistic – 2.32m was fifth in Beijing and if I’d been on my game in Beijing I was capable of that. I jumped really well leading up to Beijing in the preparation camp, then I just got a virus. If I get to Berlin healthy, I’m confident I can jump well enough to get into the top five and once you’re in the final anything can happen.

“I thrive on that sort of environment -going to Japan for the World Championships two years ago gave me all the belief I needed, knowing that I could hold it together mentally when I knew I was in great shape - and I achieved a personal best there. I got to the final in Beijing, but I was disappointed that I was ill just when it mattered.

“I’m so well prepared with my coach Fayyaz Ahmed, I don’t have to think about anything once I’m in that environment, I can just enjoy it. I thrive in that sort of situation as I’ve done so much technical work. He’s such a technical minded coach it puts me in the best position possible to go out on the big occasion and jump well.”

Despite a slow start to the season, Parsons cleared 2.27m to win the Midlands Open Championships last weekend. Now he believes he’s got what it takes to retain the national title he won last year.

Parsons said:  “Things picked up dramatically for me last weekend after a spluttery start to the season. I’ve taken my run-up back eight footsteps as I had a couple of bad competitions before that, when I realised things needed to change.  I’d got a lot stronger and a lot faster, so I needed to take my run-up back so I could reach the bar correctly.  I’d like to win the Aviva Trials more than anything, and I’m confident that I can do it.”

Born in Solihull, Parsons is a regular at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium, which he uses for his training.  It’s a track the Birchfield Harrier is particularly fond of:

“I love it to bits, it’s my favourite track, so it’s quite useful for me to have the Trials there! I’ve probably set about 4 or 5 personal bests there over the years. I train there at the stadium – mostly indoors – so I feel very comfortable there.

“It was good last year because all my family came down, as well as my girlfriend, the people I train with, and the people I work with at the English Institute of Sport. So it was nice to have that extra support - I definitely need that extra bit of adrenaline to push me on.”

Parson is likely to face Olympic silver medallist Germaine Mason at the Aviva World Trials & UK Championships,  but he doesn’t let the prospect of tough competition worry him:

He added: “I don’t really try and think about the others much, I just know that I have some talented people to beat. For me it’s all about jumping 2.31m at the Trials and if I do that I should hopefully be on the way to Berlin. My two aims for the weekend are winning and a personal best, so let’s see what happens.”

The Aviva World Trials & UK Championships is part organised by Birmingham City Council and supported by Marketing Birmingham.  

The Championships take place at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium on 10, 11 and 12 July. Tickets can be purchased online at www.uka.org.uk and by phone on 0800 055 60 56.