Morpeth’s elite athletes ready to go for Olympic gold

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THE Olympic spotlight will soon fall on Morpeth as three of the town’s athletes prepare for Games glory.

Morpeth Harriers runners Laura Weightman and Nick McCormick will be going for Gold for Great Britain next week, while their club teammate Serod Batochir will be representing Mongolia.

The London Games began in spectacular style with an Opening Ceremony directed by Danny Boyle on Friday and there has already been intense competition in several sports, including swimming, football, rowing and cycling.

However, the main Olympic Stadium will have its first day of action tomorrow when the track and field programme gets under way.

And middle distance star Laura Weightman kicks off her campaign in the 1500m heats on Monday, at about 11.45am.

She has been quietly preparing under the watchful eye of her coach, former world mile-record-holder and BBC commentator Steve Cram.

Twenty-one-year-old Laura, from Lesbury near Alnwick, is one of three British 1500m hopefuls, but has had a very successful season so far and is expected to progress at least to the semi-finalnext Wednesday.

However, she will have to overcome the world’s top runners to reach the final, staged next Friday, which will be watched by an audience of millions all over the world.

Meanwhile, 5000m runner Nick McCormick will line up for the heats next Wednesday morning.

The 30-year-old has been training in the Pyrenees over the summer, hoping the high altitude will have helped him build up stamina for the gruelling race.

And his coach Lindsay Dunn says his charge is better prepared than ever.

If he makes it through the first round, Nick will run in the final on the evening of Saturday, August 11.

Marathon runner Serod Batochir will be competing for Mongolia on Sunday, August 12, the final day of the competition.

Batochir is expected to place among the front runners and should be in good shape for action.

Colleagues at Morpeth Harriers will be cheering on the trio and hoping they perform at their best on their big occasion.