5th June 2009

Sotherton Targets Trials


05 June 2009 – Press play to view the clip above!

British heptathletes Kelly Sotherton and Louise Hazel were treated to some pampering and styling at Selfridges department store in Birmingham in preparation for the grueling outdoor season ahead of them.

Their first  major hurdle this season will be the Aviva World Trials & UK Championships which will be held on 10-12 July at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, as both have sights on a qualifying place for the  IAAF World Championships in August.

32-year-old Sotherton, who won bronze at the World Championships in 2007 and came agonisingly close to a medal at the Beijing Olympics last year, is looking for a place on the podium at the international competition which will be held in Berlin, and knows she must produce the goods at the trials in her home city in order to fulfill her potential abroad.  

Sotherton said: “We very rarely get chance to get our hair and makeup done so it’s nice to get pampered, especially before everything kicks off during the season.

“ I had a foot injury that I sustained in the indoor season, which is getting better every day, and I’m now able to do a lot more training than last week and the week before. It does mean my season will be starting late, with the Aviva World Trials & UK Championships in Birmingham likely to be my first event.

“It’ll be my first competition, so to get through that, stay injury free and get some decent performances is going to be important.”

Last year, Sotherton won silver in the long jump at the Alexander Stadium, just 2cm behind Jade Johnson who cleared 6.30m. The Birchfield Harrier also picked up bronze in the high jump, and this year, she’s hoping to get in amongst the medals yet again.

She said: “Last year I tore my quad, so I was coming off a short approach in the long jump – but I still nearly won it, so I know that I’ll be able to give it a good shot.

“Long jump’s becoming quite successful now in this country though, as there are quite a few good girls jumping really well – the likes of Jade Johnson, Phyllis Agbo, Amy Woodman and Jessica Ennis – so it’s not going to be easy.”

Now Sotherton wants to be back amongst the medals on the world stage, after the heartache of a fourth place finish in Beijing last year:

“I want to be a contender for a medal at the World Championships. If I‘m not in the shape to contend for a medal then I won’t go – but I want to go there and take part and come back with a medal –I’m not going there just to compete.”

Sotherton will face stiff competition for a place on the Aviva Great Britain & Northern Ireland team heading out to Berlin, with Jessica Ennis and fellow Birchfield Harrier Hazel also performing well.

Hazel, 23, has enjoyed a promising start to her outdoor season, setting a personal best last month in the javelin – throwing 44.20m in Loughborough, and 12.24m in the shot put in Bedford one week later.

Hazel said: “I missed the first heptathlon of the year in Italy as I had an injury, but I knew it was going really well in training and I was pleased with my two personal bests. Everything’s going in the right direction and it’s great to be able to dust off the cobwebs in preparation for the Aviva World Trials & UK Championships.

“I’m really hungry for the challenge this year- I had a few setbacks last year, losing my father and exam pressure, but if anything it’s made me even hungrier.

“I competed in the European Championships in 2006, but this would be my first chance to compete on a world level and I’d love the chance to do that.”