Laura’s D-Day dawns

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OLYMPIC hopeful Laura Weightman is facing one of the biggest weekends of her life, but admits she is ‘ready to go’.

The 20-year-old middle-distance runner heads to Birmingham, with a place at the London 2012 Games on the line.

With two Olympic A standards in the bag, she knows a top-two finish at the UK Athletics Aviva 2012 Trials would ensure automatic nomination for selection onto Team GB.

And the 1500m star insists she is all set to fight for a dream spot at this year’s Olympics.

“Things have been going really well and I have had a very good build up to the trials and am really looking forward to them,” said Weightman, who is coached by former Olympic silver medallist and world record-holder Steve Cram MBE.

She added: “I am ready to go. I have done all the work and I am in the best shape of my life.”

The Morpeth Harrier has been in blistering form recently, putting last year’s injury and illness woes behind her to propel herself onto the frontline of this year’s Olympic qualifying battle.

Having ended last season seventh in the British female 1500m rankings, she now sits second with a 4:04.88 personal best (PB), behind world silver medallist Hannah England – who earlier this week pulled out of the trials due to injury.

Her form bodes well for the event this weekend, giving her a realistic chance of sealing a spot at the Games, which she admits would be ‘unbelievable’.

And her hunger to reach the showcase sporting spectacle has increased, after she saw the Olympic Torch visit Northumberland last week.

“Being part of this year’s Olympics would be a dream come true.

“But seeing the Torch and all the people who came to see it made the Games feel more real and it makes you realise just how big the Olympics is,” said Weightman, who recently raced to an 800m PB of 2:02.52 at Watford.

The race ace has already had a small taste of the Games, having won 3000m gold in London’s Olympic Stadium in the BUCS Championships last month.

But Weightman, from Lesbury, is desperate to race there again, this time in the Olympics itself.

And coach Cram sees no reason why that dream can’t become a reality, admitting he couldn’t be happier with the situation she finds herself in heading into the trials at the Alexander Stadium.

“At the start of the season we concentrated on getting the A standard first so that Laura didn’t have that to worry about heading into the trials,” he said.

“So all she can think about now is getting in that top two which is great. That is obviously going to be difficult because the likes of Lisa Dobriskey is back running now and the trials are always tough but Laura is in a good position.”

Laura’s 1500m heat is on Saturday and the final is scheduled for Sunday at 5.49pm.

The trials, which will see more than 750 athletes go head-to-head for Olympic places, are being shown on the BBC.

The first two eligible athletes in each event will automatically gain nomination for selection, as long as they hold the current A standard, with up to three spots available.

Steve Cram is an ambassador for Yorkshire Bank, which is helping bring communities together to encourage relationships and business growth. Visit www.ybonline.co.uk