Weightman hails mentor Cram

05 August 2012 / 22:44

British 1500 metres runner Laura Weightman believes three years spent training under the watchful eye of one of the country's greatest middle-distance athletes can give her an edge when she makes her Olympic debut on Monday.

The 21-year-old's coach is Steve Cram, the former 1500m world champion turned BBC commentator who was at the heart of the golden age of British athletics in the 1980s.

Weightman knows that with the guidance of a man who once broke world records at 1500m, the mile and 2000m in the space of 19 days comes the pressure to do her mentor proud in London.

However, it is a challenge the Alnwick-born runner is ready for, and she said: "I am in great shape. It feels special with all the history Britain have in the event.

"Steve is brilliant to work with, he has helped me make that transition from the juniors to the seniors. He has had a brilliant career and I feel I should perform well with him coaching me. But at the same time I am just focused on my own race.

"My goal is to make the final. It will be tough as there are quite a few girls who can run pretty fast. But I think I am better than my personal best and strong enough now to go through the rounds."

Weightman, who won the British trials last month, will almost certainly have to go quicker than her best of four minutes 4.88 seconds, which she set in May, to make an impact at the Olympic Stadium.

But working with Cram, who battled it out with Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett for middle-distance supremacy, has been ideal preparation. They linked up in June 2009 after she approached the 1984 Olympic silver medallist, who has connections with the Morpeth Harriers club she runs for.

And his tactical nous has been invaluable, as she added: "He draws on his experiences a lot. He has done a lot to help me prepare, not just physically but mentally as well. We have talked a lot about how to run the race and where to position myself."

On Monday she will look to put those plans into action.