Killeen eyes podium in London

10 August 2012 / 15:41

Liam Killeen has twice finished in the top 10 at the Olympic Games and is relishing the chance to put those near-misses behind him in the London 2012 mountain bike event at Hadleigh Farm on Sunday.

Killeen finished fifth in Athens in 2004 and seventh in Beijing four years later and is looking forward to competing in a major event in front of a home crowd following his experience at the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002.

"I find the home crowd gives me a boost," Killeen said. "I had the opportunity to race at the Commonwealth Games 10 years ago in Manchester and I can still remember it now. I had goose bumps going up all the big climbs. It lifted me big-time on that day."

Killeen is now seeking an Olympic-best result in Essex as one of 50 riders going for glory. The 30-year-old from Malvern added: "In Athens, at my first Games, I was fifth after a bit of a hold up on the first corner, and then in Beijing I was in medal-winning shape but unfortunately had a crash.

"But every race is different and I'm going to be vigilant at the start. I feel the last five or six weeks' training has gone very well and now I'm just looking forward to it. Hopefully I will achieve a result I'm happy with."

Britain's female entrant in Saturday's race is Annie Last, who has performed well this season. She is the first British female to compete in the Olympics in 12 years.

The 21-year-old from Derbyshire said: "I'm really excited. There are quite a lot of older women there who have got a lot more experience than me, but all I can do is my best. It's just about staying focused, doing my best and enjoying it."

Last deferred her place at medical school to focus on London and is in her best form.

She added: "The past few races I've got my best results. I'll do my best and wherever I come, as long as I do my best, I'll be happy. A top-10 result would be amazing, a top-five would be incredible and a medal would be really, really good."

Last knows the course well and appreciates how crucial a good start will be. She added: "You need a really good start. It's going to be a lot easier to be at the front of the race than it will be racing from the back. But you've got to be prepared for something to go wrong, prepared for anything."