ATHLETICS: Clarke in best shape of his career

Bicester Advertiser: Lawrence Clarke on the way to second place in Birmingham Lawrence Clarke on the way to second place in Birmingham

LAWRENCE Clarke says he is the shape of his life as he prepares for two major championships inside a month.

The 24-year-old sprint hurdler, from Christmas Common, near Watlington, hopes to bid for a medal at the Commonwealth Games and the European Championships this summer.

Clarke won a bronze at the 2010 Commonwealths in Delhi and was fourth at London 2012, but feels he has progressed since then.

“I am in the best shape I have ever been in,” he said.

“In 2012, I had a lot of injuries. Looking back at my training diaries, I was often having to cut back because I had a high hamstring pull.

“None of those problems have surfaced this year. I have been injury free since October.

“Everything I have wanted to do, I have been able to do.

“Having run 13.4 in my heat at the British Championships, it didn’t feel like I had done a race, because I have conditioned myself so well.”

Next up is the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix tomorrow night.

He said: “It is not a Diamond League event for hurdles, but they are having heats and a final, so that’s going to be good preparation.”

Clarke then races in Lucerne on Tuesday and at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games in London’s Horse Guards Parade on July 20.

Before the Commonwealths, he will have what he called a “cross-border training camp” in Kilmarnock as his coach Malcolm Arnold looks after hurdlers from different home nations.

Clarke has generally been a smooth technician, but hit the sixth hurdle hard when finishing second at the British Championships in Birmngham.

“There was quite a strong tailwind and it was really gusty as well,” he explained as part of the reason for the error.

“I just couldn’t get up for the next hurdle. It just came down and I am amazed how I didn’t go over.

“My body was very sore the next day.

“I lost four metres in one hurdle, so I was quite relieved to get one of the qualifying spots.

“I’m glad in a way that it was an illegal wind, as the conditions had been good.

“If it had been legal, I would have been kicking myself for having not run quicker.”

* Sainsbury’s is proud to support British Athletics through its involvement in the Summer Series and beyond. For more information and to purchase tickets visit: http://www.sainsburys-live-well-for-less.co.uk/occasions/anniversary-games/ Latest Sport news

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