Lynsey Sharp plans to channel the anger from her Commonwealth Games nightmare into realising her dream of a return to the podium when she opens up her European Athletics Championships in Berlin today in the heats of the 800 metres.
The 2012 champion sustained a surprise exit in the Gold Coast in the opening round that felt like a punch in the gut.
“It hurt a lot. It still hurts a lot,” the 28-year-old said. “And it’s hard because I just wish I hadn’t gone because it took a lot out of me and I got nothing out of it.
“But I learnt a lot from it. I was under the weather. Looking back, it was pretty rough. But the hunger is definitely there even if my body wasn’t cooperating.”
She returned to her training base in San Diego to nurse her wounds and heal her mind. And although Sharp picked up in the early summer where she left off in the spring, coming a lowly fifth at the British trials, her form has rocketed in recent weeks with the Scot heading into the Euros as the second-ranked woman in the field behind France’s Renelle Lamote, the runner-up two years ago in Amsterdam.
Switching to America was always destined to bring a few stutters here and there, she declared.
“It has taken time to get used to it. I’m really enjoying it. Life is very different out there. Maybe it has taken some time to figure things out there but I’m feeling really positive about the next few years. It’s three years out from Tokyo and I’ve had to do some things this year for long-term planning. Now we know certain things which do work and some which don’t.”
Four years on from her last championship medal feels like too long. Time to run hard and run strong, she acknowledged. “I have two European medals now and having missed out on a Commonwealth medal this year, it’s a huge thing. I miss medals. And I really want to get one.”
Eilidh Doyle, pictured, and Kirsten McAslan start today in the opening round of the 400 metres hurdles and while the 2014 champion Doyle has been forced to recapture full fitness in double-quick time after two months out injured, her fellow Scot has enjoyed an even more meteoric rise in her first full season since switching from the 400m.
Already a world championship medallist in the relay, McAslan switched to Loughborough last year in what was initially an experimental shot at a new discipline. The results, including second at the trials, suggest she is on a trajectory towards the likes of Doyle and her fellow elite.
“I think I’ve found my event now,” the 24-year-old said. “It was a bit rough at the start of the season. It was only when I got back from the Commonwealths that I really started in the hurdles again so I was really rusty. I had to find my stride pattern and find my rhythm but now I have, I’m just getting quicker all the time. I just need more racing.
“This time last year, I’d never done a hurdles race. I found it really hard. I’d get ridiculously nervous and that was the main thing I had to get past, not being scared of the barriers. But my coach has been really patient in getting me through the mental side.
“It was a bit of a mess but he told me not to panic and now it doesn’t faze me. It’s automatic now.”