Holmes says world silver lifts pressure on England

Double Olympic champion Kelly Holmes has revealed she is glad her protege Hannah England did not win gold at last year’s World Championships.

England claimed a surprise silver medal in the 1,500 metres in Daegu behind American winner Jennifer Simpson.

And, while Holmes was delighted for England, the most successful graduate from her “On Camp with Kelly” programme, the 41-year-old believes there would have been too much pressure on England at the Olympics if she had claimed gold.

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“She won the silver medal and could have won gold,” said Holmes. “I’m glad she didn’t because I think the pressure on her would have been immense.

“Now what it’s given her is that edge inside her, whether she portrays it or not, that she can do it. She now just needs to get it right. She’s focusing really well, she’s kept herself out of the country most of the time training and got away from the media glare.”

Holmes admits England still has to work on her self-belief to ensure last year’s success is not a one-off, but is already working to help the next generation of British sportsmen and women achieve similar glory.

As a patron of the Jaguar Academy of Sport, Holmes was in Sheffield yesterday to speak to the academy’s Rising Stars of 2012 and pass on her expertise.

“I never had anything like this,” she added. “I had my coaches and training partners, but actually having something that’s given to you before you need it I think is really critical, because at some stage during your career there’s always going to be a barrier or a setback that you have to deal with and you think ‘I wish I knew that first’.

“This is why mentoring and guidance is important. We look wider than just the here and now, which athletes should be in, and with someone like Hannah, she missed out on two major championships when she didn’t qualify from the trials and I’ve stamped down on her and all the others how much the trials are the only thing that matters in your year.”