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Kersey heads to trials in confident mood
6:10pm Tuesday 19th June 2012 in Sport
GEMMA Kersey will go into this weekend’s Olympic trials in confident mood after winning her first national outdoors title.
The 20-year-old Basildon AC athlete was a convincing victor in the under-23 1,500m at the English Championships in Bedford, winning in 4m 35.56s, which included a rapid 61s last lap.
“I’m really looking forward to the trials now,” said Kersey. “I’m hoping to make the final or run a personal best, either of those two would be great.”
Kersey reached the final at the senior championships last year after running a personal best in the heats of 4m 20.44s.
That time has since come down to 4m 18.37s and with a national title now under her belt, coach Eamonn Martin believes she can impress in Birmingham this weekend.
“In many ways the pressure is off,” said Martin. “I thought she was the favourite going into the national championships and she dealt with that brilliantly. Now she can go into the trials and get a PB or make the final that would be great for her.”
Kersey was not the only gold medallist at the national under-20 and under-23 championships.
Jess Judd was delighted with her win in blustery conditions in the under-20 1,500m in 4m29.14s. The race was a straight final which meant she had an extra day to prepare for her 800m at the Olympic trials. Sophie Riches, from Rayleigh, was ninth in the same race in 4m 40.75s despite being an under-17 athlete.
Another under-17 athlete mixing it with older competitors was Basildon AC’s Kaylee Dodd who relied on her trademark finish to win a bronze medal in the under-20 women’s 800m in a season’s best time of 2m 9.06s.
The race was won in a rapid 2m 4.95s and after going with the pace at the start, Dodd soon knew she couldn’t take the chance of going with the leaders.
“I’ve learnt how to judge an 800m race now. I didn’t want to risk going off with the pace and end up having nothing left and I did that.
“I knew I had the finish, that’s my strength and I pushed hard to get the medal.
“It was good to get two back-to-back races in over the weekend. It will help me for the English Schools next month. I know I can run faster, I just need to be in the right race with the right conditions and it will come. I’m sure of that.”
Elsewhere Basildon AC's Tariq Martin finished sixth in the under-20 men's discus (46.68m) while Liam Yarwood (4.40m) and Mitch Etheridge (4.10m) finished fifth and eighth respectively.