Dazzling Desiree sprints into the record books
EMERGING sprint star Desiree Henry has the Olympics firmly in her sights as she reflects on a stunning outdoor season with Enfield and Haringey Athletics Club. Henry flew through the entire National Young Athletes League season undefeated...
EMERGING sprint star Desiree Henry has the Olympics firmly in her sights as she reflects on a stunning outdoor season with Enfield and Haringey Athletics Club.
Henry flew through the entire National Young Athletes League season undefeated in her Under-15 age group, winning every race she entered and underlining her number-one ranking in both the 100m and 200m.
And with the outdoor season now at an end, the 13-year-old is taking stock of her phenomenal success, which culminated in a record-breaking performance at the English Schools' track and field championships, where she won gold in the 200m.
A blistering time of 21.67 seconds in the final carved out a new personal best for Henry, success which she is determined to continue in her bid to become an Olympic athlete.
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"I'm so proud of the way I've improved this season, all the hard work has paid off," said Henry. "I've been training hard, it's been a long season but a good one. It's just been getting better and better.
"I think my performance in the English Schools event stands out, I was really proud of how well I did, mainly because I was just so nervous beforehand, I think it even gave me a nosebleed at one stage! But I was able to use those fears and nerves, and it showed me that I really could do it."
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As well as beating off the competition in the 200m Henry, who trains at the Lee Valley Athletics Centre in Edmonton, has also shot to the top of the 100m rankings.
But despite breaking the 12-second mark in that event Henry, under the guidance of her coach Peter Denford, is concentrating on the 200m, with the 2016 Olympics her target.
"The 200m is really the one that I've developed, and it just seems to come easier for me. It's a bit strange because I was aiming to break 24 seconds next season, and I did it this season, so next year I'm aiming for 23 seconds," she added.
Henry's targets at the start of the season in April were to do well in the UK Championship and the English Schools Championships - and she won them both. Next up is the McCain Track and Field Show on Sunday, an event which will be screened live on Channel Four.
"The Olympics is definitely one of my aims, I'm looking at 2016 really because by then I'll be old enough and hopefully really focussed," she added.
"I'd love to get there, I look at some of the times older athletes are getting now, and I'm not far away from them, so hopefully I can do it.
"If someone had said to me at the start of this season that I would have done this well, I would have said it was impossible, and for that I'd like to thank my trainer.
"In a way I was sad the season ended, I just wanted it to carry on, but now I'm going to have a bit of a rest, and then it's the indoor season, and then the outdoor season again next summer!"
Henry's exploits certainly have not surprised her coach, who admits her talent can take her as far as she wants to go.
"It really doesn't seem that incredible if you have seen her run," said Denford. "I picked her out three years ago and as soon as I saw her I knew she was seriously quick.
"She's got it all; the application, the talent, and she puts the time in. She just seems to flow along effortlessly.
"She can certainly make it to GB level, as for how far she can go after that, who knows.