Lawrence Clarke believes pressure will be his greatest ally as he looks to lead Great Britain to success in Prague at this weekend’s European Indoor Championships.
The 24-year-old will be Britain's team captain in the Czech Republic and is ready to get the competition off to a flying start with victory in the 60m hurdles on Friday.
With British Indoor Championship gold to his name already this season, as well as victory a fortnight ago at Birmingham's Grand Prix, Clarke is perfectly poised to bring the curtain down with a bang on his indoor season.
And it is his consistent performance in the Midlands that fills the London 2012 110m finallist with confidence – running 7.62 seconds in the heats before matching that in the final to take the win.
“You are your own worst enemy in these environments. In theory every single athlete knows what to do but we don't always do it,” he said.
“If I can be as consistent as I have been I am putting myself in the best possible environment to slip in on the outside.
“From your last training session to the moment the gun goes that is where the race is won and lost and certainly for me my best ally is the most intense period of pressure for those athletes.
“I know when I go into that environment I tend to flourish and hopefully they will know that.
“I think being able to not let the pressure overcook you is what I will talk about in my captain's speech.”
Clarke has already hit an indoor personal best of 7.59 this season and believes that, on current form, he can go quicker in Prague.
And as the indoor season builds to its crescendo, Britain's team captain says European gold will be the perfect boost for a summer campaign that will see him take on the finest athletes on the planet at Beijing's World Championships.
“It's been really hard to motivate myself and push on but now I'm there running consistently, able to compete against these guys,” he added.
“Birmingham the weekend before last was a great moment for me when I managed to not bottle it, not hit a hurdle, not make mistakes and run two times that were exactly the same and that's what I want to come and do here.
“It will hopefully set me up for the outdoor season where the first five hurdles have always been my weakness.
“That's where I lost it in the Olympic final in 2012 and it's where I've always tended to lose my races at the beginning so if I can get out with these guys then I will hopefully run a personal best.”
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