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Inspiring dreams

Published: February 27, 2012 | 11:07 am
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Aspiring Olympian discusses passion for the Olympic legacy

With most athletes solely focused on the Olympic Games this summer, it can be easy to lose sight of the longer-term legacy which it is hoped the sporting event will produce.

Heptathlon Commonwealth gold medallist, Louise Hazel, however is one aspiring Olympian who also has one eye on the after-effects of the sporting spectacle this summer.

The 26-year-old Birchfield Harrier believes that the country should embrace the current golden age of athletics, with the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the 2017 World Athletics Championships all to come after London this year.

She believes that the legacy of 2012 will be vitally important for the future of athletics and for the next generation of children to become involved in sport.

Competitive

Hazel told Sky Sports: “For me I think the biggest thing the country can do is to give sports people the opportunity to earn as well as train, by going into schools, engaging with the young people and from the very early ages, get them to participate in sport and be competitive in sport.

“That is something we need to bring back to our country. At the minute it is ridiculous that they try to protect children in schools by guiding them away from being competitive, because at the end of the day, when you go into the workplace, you have to sometimes be competitive. They are traits you need to be able to survive in the real world.

“It is important that after London 2012, we look at the crop of athletes that are going into retirement and use them to our advantage to inspire the next generation.”

With such passion for the London legacy, one of Hazel’s sponsor’s – ‘Aspire Sports’ – are an organisation that participate in regular school visits, encouraging children to be active with simple things like running, jumping and throwing.

Journey

It is this side of the spectrum which the 2012 hopeful wishes to highlight.

“I am very passionate about legacy. We need to realise that as athletes, we are just on a conveyor belt of champions- there will be champions before us and there will be champions after.

“This is as much about my journey as the ways in which I can help others too. So I am going to make it quite a big part of my career, during and after athletics, to make sure our country is producing future stars.

“That is very important to me – no-one wants to see America walk away with lots of medals again do they?” she adds.

With her Olympic dream alive and kicking, Hazel is focused on golden glory this summer before she aims to retain her Commonwealth title in two years’ time.

She concludes: “I am hoping my body will hold out until the 2016 Olympics too but I’m doubtful that I will make it to 2017 for the World Championships.

“Who knows though, maybe you will see me on the other side of the camera in 2017, as a broadcaster – that would be nice.”

Regardless of her sporting success in the stadium this summer, it seems certain that this heptathlete will not be disappearing from the UK athletics scene for quite some time.

skysports

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