Sprinter Jeanette Kwakye is raring for the UK trials later this month, ready to set the dust flying for a Team GB slot.
Jeanette made her mark as a young athlete, taking English Schools and then national age-group titles. Then she made it to the 100m final at the Beijing Olympics, where she pulled out all the stops to produce a lifetime best 11.14.
Knee injuries, every runner’s nightmare, dogged Jeanette for the last couple of years. Now, the bubbly athlete is back to full fitness and to form following an emphatic win at the Aviva European Indoor Trials earlier this year.
Jeanette reveals how she manages her injury demons, her London 2012 favourites and why TOWIE and quality sofa time help keep stress levels down.
I’m quietly confident I’ll secure a slot in Team GB. I feel in good shape qualifying from last year and I’m reigning champion. Hopefully I’ll be able to defend that title and pick up a slot in London 2012.
As an athlete, you always have doubts, even if you’re in great shape. It’s usually nothing very serious and I get rid of them by remembering what I’ve been able to do, even under tough circumstances. By remembering the good, you can get rid of the bad.
My career highlights have been making the Olympic final in 2008, and coming back from my injury and winning the trials in 2011.
The toughest point was rehab following my knee injury.
I recovered with lots of therapy, physio and massage - sports massage that is, nothing too pampering! Also, by eating foods with healing properties. As an athlete you do everything you can to help heal a bit faster and every percentage towards recovery counts.
I do worry that injuries over the last couple of years will have hampered my chances in London 2012. A lot of girls that picked up injuries similar to mine have gone on to do great things, but then there are also lots who were injured at the same time as me who haven’t been able to recover fully. I try not to think about it too much: what will be, will be.
I want the whole team to do well in London 2012; everyone is working so hard. But I would especially like to see Jess [Jess Ennis], Phil [Phillips Idowu], Mo [Mo Farah] and Dai [Dai Greene] walk away with a medal.
I switch off from the pressure by vegging out with my boyfriend and watching bad TV (to his dismay!). I’m a huge fan of TOWIE! We also like going to the cinema, or out for dinner where we can just chat about everything that isn’t track related.
The result that would make me happy in London 2012? Making the team. Just making the team would be great and then after that, just going out and doing the best that I possibly can.
Coach: Michael Afilaka
Club: Woodford Green Essex Ladies
2012 – Aviva European Indoor Trials and UK Championships, 60m gold
2012 - UK Championships, 60m gold
2008 – Beijing Olympics, 100m sixth place
2008 - World Indoor Championships, 60m silver
2005 – AAA Indoor Championships, 60m gold
2005- AAA U23 Championships, 100m gold, 200m gold.
2003 - European U23 Championships, 100m seventh place
On 12th June 2012 Jeanette Kwakye is leading the Ariel Big Sprint, a ‘Capital wide’ clean-up challenge to make London stainless in time for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Find out how you can get involved by visiting www.pgcapitalcleanup.com.