Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us »
It's now or never for Hayley McLean as she looks to achieve World Juniors times
HAYLEY McLean has one last chance to prove herself wrong and seal a place at the World Junior Championships.
The 17-year-old is the number one ranked under-20 400m hurdler in the country, but attaining the qualification time for the World Juniors has been agonisingly out of reach this season.
This weekend’s national under-20 championships and World Junior Championships trials are McLean’s last opportunity to run 58.50s or below before the selectors pick their team on Monday.
The Stanford-le-Hope teenager goes into the competition suspecting she will not be on the plane to Barcelona and, maybe, that will mean the pressure she has felt all summer will be off.
“I sort of realise it’s unlikely that I will get the time,” said McLean, a Palmer’s College student. “So in some ways it feels like a bit of the pressure is off.
“I kind of think to myself that if I was going to get the time I would have done by now.”
McLean has run 58.57s and 58.83s this year and knows she is so close to running 58.50s.
But the weather has not been kind to her for any of her 400m hurdles races in this country – and she knows if she is to stand any chance the sun must be shining and wind low in Bedford.
“I’ve not dared to look at the weather forecast,” she said. “I’m just hoping I’ll wake up and the sun will be shining.
“It’s frustrating because 400m hurdles is one of the races that is really affected by the weather. “Wherever the wind is, at some point in the race you will hit it. And the weather hasn’t been great this year.”
McLean has also lumped pressure on herself. After making the World Youth Championships final last year she is desperate to make the World Juniors despite at 17 being the youngest in the age group. “I have put pressure on myself,” she said. “When someone sets me a target it feels like it’s been set for a reason. I feel like I’m letting people down if I don’t make that target.
“But I am one of the youngest and there’s the European Juniors to aim for next season too so we’ll see what happens.”