Birchfield Harriers sprinter Meghan Beesley is determined to enhance her growing reputation as one of Great Britain’s brightest prospects for future Olympic glory when she competes in the World Junior Championships in Poland next month.
The 18-year-old from Polesworth, North Warwickshire, was recently awarded the Spar Sprints Initiative Outstanding Performer Award 2008 after a remarkable year in which she won the England Junior 400m hurdles title, and then came a respectable sixth in the European Junior Championships. This was followed up by a surprise victory in the UK senior indoor 400m at the beginning of 2008.
Now the rising star is aiming to add to her CV in Bydgoszcz, Poland when she lines up in the 400m hurdles, although she admits she has not been at her best in the event so far this season.
Beesley won at the England under-23 and under-20 championships in Bedford last weekend, an event blighted by strong winds. Many of the athletes found it impossible to reach the qualifying marks and Beesley won in a gritty time of 1:00.92mins but had surpassed the qualifying time earlier in the season.
Beesley later secured a 100m gold medal in a time of 13.83secs, just outside the 13.70sec mark required for qualification.
“I am really looking forward to the junior championships,” said Beesley, who has just finished her A-levels and is hoping to study mathematics and sports science at Loughborough University.
“I am starting to settle into the 400m hurdles after stepping up from the 300m hurdles. I haven’t ran as well as I would have wanted but I have still done OK and I know there is plenty more to come from me. I am hoping I can put it all together on the day in Poland because my best is yet to come this year.
“I am also competing in the 4x100m relay and we have a really strong squad. I am confident we can do well in that as well.”
Beesley began at Tamworth Athletic Club and quickly emerged as a talented multi-eventer under the guidance of heptathlete Kelly Sotherton’s former coach Trevor Marsay. However, she has emerged as a promising sprinter and now trains at the High Performance Centre at the Alexander Stadium.
“I wasn’t quite good enough at the high jump and the shot to do the multi events and I am more of a sprinter,” she explained. “The High Performance Centre is the best place to learn and train as the track is great and so many senior athletes train here. There is a great atmosphere, everyone is very friendly and when someone like Kelly Sotherton comes over and offers you encouragement it feels great.”
Beesley is hotly tipped to compete at the London Olympics of 2012 and she is going to the Beijing Olympics later this year to get a feel for a major championships, and will be able to train while out there, courtesy of her sponsor, Nike.
“It is going to be an amazing experience and I can’t wait,” she said. “My coach is keen for me to experience the atmosphere, it will be amazing, I will take it all in. Of course I want to compete in 2012 but I am only young and if London comes too soon there will be other championships. First I have the Juniors in three weeks’ time and then there ‘are plenty of competitions for me to concentrate on before the Olympics come here.”