Athletics
Rowena Cole is eyeing European medal

By Steve Carpenter 16/08 Updated: 22/08 10:44

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Buy photos » Rowena Cole at the 2011 Aviva Grand Prix at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham (s)

MIDDLE distance running starlet Rowena Cole is targeting a medal at the next year’s European Under 23 Championships after failing to qualify for the London 2012 Olympics because of illness.

The 20-year-old missed a whole month of training after suffering from injury and a virus before returning towards the end of the season to post a personal best in the 800m.

The runner from Tile Hill was frustrated at the lay-off which wrecked her chances of coming through with a late run to qualify for the Olympics.

However Cole, who is currently ranked 11th in the UK, has now turned her attentions to challenging for a spot on the podium at the Euro Under-23s in Finland.

"It has been a frustrating season in many ways due to my problems with injury and illness which wiped out the whole of June and the start of July," said Coventry University student Cole.

"I did think there was possibly an outside chance of going to the London Games as my event was quite open, but the time off unfortunately put an end to those hopes.

"I am looking to the European Athletics Under 23 Championships as my next big goal and hopefully I can have an injury-free build up so my preparation isn't hampered.

"As always, I will go in with the intention of getting through the rounds and putting myself in a good position for a medal."

Cole has been impressed with the performance of Team GB and said her experience of the Games would help her achieve her own Olympic dream in four years time.

"It is definitely a long term goal of mine to qualify for the next Olympics in Rio," the former Tile Hill Wood School pupil added.

"I was lucky enough to be in the Olympic Stadium on the Saturday night when we won three gold medals and it was just phenomenal.

"It was an unbelievable experience to be a part of and say I was there and it has really spurred me on now to keep on improving.

"Rio may be a while off yet, but I feel if I can keep fit and continue to lower my personal best then I will be in great shape for the next Olympics."

Lloyds TSB Local Heroes, in partnership with SportsAid, provides support and funding to 346 of Britain’s most talented developing athletes on their journey to London 2012 and beyond. Since 2008, the programme has supported 1,000 athletes. Follow future stars at facebook.com/lloydstsblocalheroes.

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