TEENAGE hurdler Hayley McLean will walk on to the Hampden Park track this lunchtime still pinching herself she’s competing at the Commonwealth Games.
But the 19-year-old from Stanford-le-Hope doesn’t intend to let the emotions overcome her today – for she is in Glasgow to do business.
McLean races in the second of three 400m hurdles heats today at 12.57pm looking to qualify for tomorrow’s semi-finals, which was one of her two big objectives coming into the championships.
“My aim is to make the semi-finals and the bigger aim is to come out with a personal best,” said McLean. “Whether that PB comes in the heat, the semi-final or if I got into the final, just to run a PB would be great.”
McLean is the ninth-ranked athlete over 400m hurdles at the championships with her PB of 56.43s and she wants to get that time down nearer to 56.0s during her time in Glasgow.
“It’s going to be tough, all the girls times are so close, but I’ve just got to concentrate on my own race,” she said.
The Chelmsford AC athlete has spent a week in Glasgow now and has been soaking up the atmosphere, attending the Opening Ceremony and even grabbing a selfie with the Queen.
She has also knuckled down to the serious business and has done several sessions on the Hampden Park track to familiarise herself with the stadium.
“I’m extremely excited now,” she said. “It’s beginning to dawn on me now just how big the event is. I think it really hit me when just before I came up here to Glasgow when I saw the TV advert for the Games and I just started crying thinking ‘I’m going to be there’, since then it’s been like a whirlwind.”
McLean is no stranger to major championships. She has competed at the World Youth Championships as a 16-year-old and last summer won gold at the European Junior Championships.
“This is a lot bigger, but last year gave me confidence,” she said. “It taught me that I deserve to be competing against the best and that I know how things work now at championships, I feel a little bit less of a rabbit in the headlights.”