Sanders rules out indoors

Nicola Sanders aims for Olympic glory

By Tom Knight

Last Updated: 11:11pm GMT 28/12/2007

Nicola Sanders has ruled out any indoor races this winter as she prepares for next summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing.

The decision means that Britain will be without its most impressive gold medal hope at the World Indoor Championships, which take place in Valencia, Spain, at the beginning of March.

Sanders, 25, made her international breakthrough last winter when she won the European Indoor 400 metres title in Birmingham with a new British record of 50.02 sec.

She improved still further in twice running below 50 sec and taking the silver medal behind her team-mate Christine Ohuruogu at the World Championships in Osaka at the end of August. Both athletes also picked up a bronze medal as Britain’s 4 x 400 m relay team clocked a national record of 3 min 20.04 sec behind the USA and Jamaica.

Together with Ohuruogu, the Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow athlete, who trains alongside sprinters Marlon Devonish and Mark Lewis-Francis in a group coached by Tony Lester, will go to Beijing as a genuine gold medal hope in what should prove one of the most fiercely contested of all the track titles.

advertisementWith that in mind, Sanders has decided to concentrate on training for the Olympics rather than competing on the boards.

Sanders said: “I don’t want to take any risks by racing indoors. I’m sure I will miss competing when I see the various indoor meetings on television but I prefer to establish a solid base of work rather than training to run too fast, too early in the year.”

Sanders is also aware that her indoor success came at a price. Problems with her back and Achilles tendons meant that she had to delay the start to her outdoor season.

“I don’t normally do the indoor season so I’m quite used to not being involved at this time of the year,” she said.

Sanders is among 40 prospective Olympians and Paralympians who will undergo a three-week stint at the UK Athletics training camp in Potchefstroom, South Africa, in January.

Paula Radcliffe left the UK for Potchefstroom yesterday and will spend around 10 days undergoing tests before moving on to Albuquerque, New Mexico.