Doyle targets British trials top two finish

Eilidh aims to beat nerves and book Rio Olympics place

The Opening Ceremony of the Rio Olympic Games may be just six weeks away but Britain’s track and field athletes still have the not insignificant matter of securing their Team GB place to deal with, writes Susan Egelstaff.

For Eilidh Doyle, all the signs indicate she will be on the plane to Brazil in a few weeks time but, as we all know, sport is not always as straight forward as that. Doyle has already achieved the qualifying time needed for Olympic selection so all that is now required is for her to finish in the top two at the British Trials, which begin on Friday in Birmingham.

Doyle, 29, has a wealth of experience behind her but she admits that she is still not immune to a bout of nerves.

The European 400m hurdles champion and double Commonwealth silver medallist said: “Just because on paper I should qualify for Rio, that’s not how these things work.

“I’ve still got to go out there and run the race and in the hurdles, anything can happen- one lapse of concentration and everything can go wrong. I think the nerves help me focus though – I find that I don’t run well if I’m not nervous so it’s all about getting the balance right, not getting so nervous that it affects your race.”

Doyle is in good form; she began her season with her first ever Diamond League victory when she claimed gold in Doha last month and she has backed that win up with more strong performances, including a second place finish in the Birmingham Diamond League where she was pipped for victory by the USA’s Cassandra Tate in a photo finish.

She said: “The British Champs will be a good opportunity to run a hard race and get a good time. I’m feeling confident so it’s all about going out there and running well. I feel like I’m in good shape. I began the season in the best shape that I’ve ever been at the start of a season so that was great and gave me confidence.

“The way everything has gone this season, it looks like I’ll be heading to Rio but I’m very much somebody who doesn’t like to focus on that until I’ve got my seat on the plane confirmed.

“Hopefully everything will go to plan at the trials and then I can start focusing fully on the Olympics.”