Wrexham's Laura wants to be a golden girl

Reporter:

Garth ap Thomas

ATHLETE Laura Douglas doesn’t look like the typical hammer thrower.

But the 27-year-old will be hoping to make it third time lucky when she competes in the Commonwealth Games this autumn.

Laura, the leading Welsh women’s thrower, puts her success down to strong technique rather than physical strength.

Her Commonwealth Games challenge in Delhi follows previous appearances at Manchester in 2002, when she came 19th, and a ninth-place finish in Melbourne in 2006.

Now ranked fourth for Great Britain, she could even be inching her way towards consideration for the 2012 London Olympics.

Laura, of The Ithens, Wrexham, said: “There are really two types of hammer thrower – those who are big and strong, and then those who rely on technique. I'm in the latter category.”

Laura started in athletics as a sporty eight-year-old. She began throwing the hammer, discus and shot as a 14-year-old pupil at Ysgol Bryn Offa with the encouragement of her teacher Karen Rhys-Jones.

She decided to concentrate on the hammer aged 18, since when she has notched up a long list of achievements.

The most recent was a bronze medal at the British Championships in Birmingham this summer.

Laura recently qualified as a teacher but continues to dedicate many hours to training, with the aim of improving on her personal best throw of just under 65 metres.

She reckons that to be in with a chance of Olympic selection she will need to achieve distances of around 68 to 69 metres.

Laura said: “The difference between the two sets of figures may not sound a lot, but finding that bit extra would be very hard.

“However, my coach Kevin Madden says I should definitely be thinking about it. He feels I do have the potential for the Olympics.”

Laura says the thrill of competing on the big stage is an experience never to be forgotten, even if she does need to put it out of her head on the day.

A key part of her preparation in Delhi will be to focus on her performance - and ignore the fact she will be being watched by millions of athletics fans around the
world.

See full story in the Leader

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