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Who made the most of 2010?

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Katharine Merry | 14:19 UK time, Friday, 29 October 2010

The dust has finally settled on what was a very busy 2010 track and field season for British athletes.

Much of the talk both before and during the season was about which athletes would target both the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games. Could the athletes, especially the big names, really sustain their energy levels to do well in both August and October?

Many, including Jess Ennis, Phillips Idowu and Mo Farah, shied away from or didn't make it to the start line at both championships because of personal reservations, injuries or lack of desire. So who, therefore, gained the most from 2010?

The stars of the European Championships were clear: those athletes that contributed to the healthy 19 British medals won in Barcelona, including the shiny gold medals.

Abiodun Oyepitan, Katherine Endacott, Montell Douglas and Laura Turner of England

Abiodun Oyepitan, Katherine Endacott, Montell Douglas and Laura Turner took women's relay gold in Delhi. Photo: Getty

Ennis, Idowu and Farah's brilliant double led the charge. The gold of Andy Turner coupled with the business-like execution of Dai Greene was all top stuff.

Of course, you have to give a pat on the back to those athletes who once they had finished celebrating in the Spanish heat went on and continued their training and mental battle to stretch 2010 out a little more. It is sometimes a little easier when you have done well and are riding on the crest of a wave, but equally it can be good motivation when you have underperformed. But do not underestimate how hard it is for an athlete to refocus and continue a season after the mental and physical fight of one major championship.

Could therefore my highlights of the season be those sweet moments where Turner and Greene won gold again in Delhi, this time for England and Wales?

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Both produced superb displays of hurdling after such a long season. Andy has been on a long rollercoaster ride in recent years. He was on lottery funding then deemed not good enough and taken off it. What a way to say, 'Hang on, I'm still a force to be reckoned with here!'

As for Dai, well Olympic gold (after possible gold at the World Championships in Korea next year) is there for the taking.

The steps forward he has made in 2010 have been huge: two titles and having run faster than ever before and beating the world's best. When I asked Kriss Akabusi about him potentially losing his British 400m hurdles record to Dai - he is only 6/100ths of a second away - Kriss was convinced it would go to Dai and added he would love him to do it in London 2012.

There were many other successes at the Commonwealths, but what differences will we see in our athletes next season? Will athletes such as Leon Baptiste and Louise Hazel be able to realistically step up another level in world terms?

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Leon clearly took advantage of the absent Jamaican sprinters to win his 200m gold. I think this will give him a real confidence boost going into 2011, having been accused of failing to deliver on previous big occasions.

For Louise, well she came out the spotlight of Jess Ennis and took the opportunity to make a name for herself. She, like Leon, took advantage of the current best athlete not being there. This is just an example of two athletes where winning these titles will hopefully do wonders for them.

What about the likes of Christine Ohuruogo who missed the season with injuries? Will that ultimately prove to be a help or a hindrance?

Christine has come out and said she believes the enforced lay-off she has had will do her no harm. I tend to agree. Having had a lot of injuries in my career, they motivate you. Christine had a really busy time winning the World Championships and Olympic Games and this year kept ticking over, even if she wasn't as quick and race-sharp because of her injury problems. She has the ability to come back and with the world standard of women's 400m running not being very high, anything in the sub-50 second region next season, which she can do at her best, will have her in the mix.

These athletes will return to winter training with a different drive and determination. Although this was a long season, it will not be hard for them to get back into the daily grind. When you have tasted success, you want more. When you have had injuries and missed out, you want to get back and prove to people you are still a world-class athlete.

You want to be the one making the headlines.

Hopefully our athletes have found 2010 to be a good stepping stone to the World Championships next year and then to London 2012. But, for you, who has made the most of, or maybe even missed out on, the opportunities of 2010?

BTW, it's a tough call but if you're asking... my highlight of 2010: All that is the 24-year-old Welsh wonder David 'Dai' Greene.

Dai Green celebrates winning European gold

Greene raced to gold in both Barcelona and Delhi this year. Photo: Getty

I am currently loving everything about him. Just brill!

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Kath. I was wondering where you have been, although hearing and seeing you more on the beeb which is great. Well done on your work in Barba and Delhi for 5live, good interviews in a tough track side roll.
    For me I agree, David Greene was great, but i feel this year may have been the highlight for many, including some the sprinters. No jamaicans etc at the Comms, they are just not good enough to make the next step.
    i hope i am wrong, but apart from Dai Greene many of of true stars didnt even go to delhi.........

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Katherine! I was personally pleased that most top British athletes opted to skip the Commowealths and save themselves for the challenges of a considerably more demanding season ahead that contains the World in Daegu. There's definitely no need for anyone to compromise their chances next summer.

    Jessica Ennis was easily the standout performer on the women's side as she dominated the global scene in the multi-events and claimed all titles on offer, topping the respective rankings both indoors and outdoors in the process.

    Jenny Meadows got into the medals despite injury worries to demonstrate what an excellent big-time performer she is, Perri Shakes-Drayton made impressive progress to gain an early foothold in world-class territory in the 400mh, Lisa Dobriskey had some very good runs on the circuit although confined to a relatively short season through injuries and Steph Twell displayed an impressive all-round distance range and potential.

    Christine Ohuruogu and Nicola Sanders were forced to cut their seasons short and get back to the drawing board but hopefully will be back in full flight next season, as should Goldie Sayers and Tasha Danvers, while Tiffany Offili could be a great reinforcement in the sprint hurdles. Hope also that Kelly Sotherton can shrug off her injury woes and come back strong and competitive for the Worlds.

    On the men's side, it's far tighter to pick who was top of the bill and one has to look somewhere between Phillips Idowu, Dai Greene and Mo Farah. Phillips may have enjoyed the less sparkling season overall among them but his imperious performance at the Europeans could still edge him top spot.

    Glad to see the likes of Chris Thompson, Christian Malcolm and MLF back to good form while Michael Bingham and Andy Turner pulled together very solid seasons.

  • Comment number 3.

    For me it also has to be Dai Greene, I admit to a little bias being Welsh but his performances this year have be excellent, especially at the Commonwealths where he was pushed right to the limit by Van Zyl of South Africa but still had it in him to win, to me that shows he can mix it with the big boys while under pressure and that can only be a good sign going into the Worlds and the Olympics when the Americans will be there. Also a mention to Rhys Williams who was only beaten by Greene and Van Zyl, I think he has a good future ahead of him and the rivalry between him and Greene can only be good for them and the sport.

  • Comment number 4.

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