Custom Search 1

Laviai Nielsen has her eyes on the prize

ON A ROLL: Laviai Nielsen after the women's 400m final at the European Athletics Championships last year

AMONG THOSE aiming to impress the SPAR British Athletics Indoor Championships is the rapidly-improving Laviai Nielsen.

While 2017 was far from a quiet year for the Londoner as she claimed both European Indoor and World outdoor medals in the 4x400m, it’s fair to say that 2018 was the year in which Nielsen made her name for herself individually following a string of eye- catching performances over 400m.

She spoke to British Athletics about her plans following an incredible year...

British Athletics: So first and foremost, you’re a full-time athlete now! How is that working out for you?

LN: That’s right, yes – I’m full- time now and an athlete, so I’m with my coach Christine Bowmaker and still based out of Lee Valley for most of my training.

Mainly I’d have to say that only having training and com- peting to worry about is so much better; now I look back at when I juggled studying and training and sort of wonder, ‘How the hell did I do that?!’

BA: Last year could have been as busy as you’d have liked it to be – the World Indoor Championships and Commonwealth Games offered early- season opportunities to compete on the international stage, but you yourself opted against the indoors and the Gold Coast which must have been tough?

LN: Absolutely. I remember thinking – and looking at my calendar – I just thought that there’s no way I could do the indoor season, the Commonwealth Games (held on Aus- tralia’s Gold Coast in 2018) and then look to qualify for the European Championships individually in the 400m, so I thought ‘OK, what do I actually want from this season?, and it was really about making my mark on the senior stage, and that pointed to Berlin.

It was really difficult to pick the phone up to Team England and say, ‘Sorry, I don’t think I can do it’, but when I put the phone down I was actually proud that I’d been able to make that call on my own because I didn’t really have anyone telling me to do it, so I’m glad I made the call because it felt worth it with how the European Championships went further down the line.

BA: Ultimately, those big decisions made during the winter appeared to pay off come the outdoor season with the level of progression you showed – did you feel that this was the case and those decisions were validated by the times you produced?

LN: Well I really took the pressure off myself last year in terms of times, so for me, because I’d competed quite well in my junior career, it meant that the first two years of competing as a senior I put too much pressure on myself to improve my personal best.

After those years I thought to stop putting pressure on myself and just compete well without worrying about the times, and once I got that into my head that I was out there to race and compete the rest sort of followed.

I took the approach I had in the trials (British Championships 2018) into the Europeans and obviously it worked out well and the times were a bonus.

BA: And now to the indoor season of 2019 – we saw back in 2017 that you have the tools to be a strong and competitive 400m racer indoors, but why is it that you enjoy the different challenge that the indoor event brings?

LN: 2017 was such a fun season (winning British indoor silver and then nishing fourth individually at the European Indoor Championships). A lot of people can be a bit scared by the event indoors because of the break for the inside after 200m, but I just love it and get my elbows out.

And I just love the atmosphere indoors, so there are plenty of reasons to want to get involved in 2019, especially as the European Indoors are another home championships (in Glasgow).

The heats for the women’s 400m final take place at 3.58pm on Sunday

Subscribe to The Voice database!

We'd like to keep in touch with you regarding our daily newsletter, Voice competitions, promotions and marketing material and to further increase our reach with The Voice readers.

If interested, please click the below button to complete the subscription form.

We will never sell your data and will keep it safe and secure.

For further details visit our privacy policy.

You have the right to withdraw at any time, by clicking 'Unsubscribe'.

Facebook Comments