Olympian relishing Team test

Olympic runner Laura Weightman.
Olympic runner Laura Weightman.

Laura Weightman says she is honoured to be representing Great Britain and Northern Ireland at this weekend’s European Athletics Team Championships.

And the 21-year-old, who made her name at London 2012, is relishing the chance to compete in the 3000metres, instead of her usual 1500m.

The event – the first major athletics championships in the UK since last year’s Olympics – also carries extra significance for the Morpeth Harrier.

Not only is it her first Team Championships, but it is also being staged at Gateshead International Stadium – which is like a second home for Weightman.

“I am really looking forward to the weekend for a number of reasons,” said the Olympic finalist, from Lesbury.

“It is nice to be selected and representing Great Britain is an honour in itself.

“The fact that it is in Gateshead is nice because the stadium is like home to me. I have been running there since I was a junior. To be running 3000metres is also nice because it is something a bit different for me and it will be interesting to see how I fare in what will be a competitive field and hopefully I can perform well for the team.”

Hannah England is on 1500m women’s duty but Weightman is no stranger to running the 3000m. Last month she smashed her personal best over the distance by 19 seconds.

She believes her race on Saturday could be a tactical affair.

More than 600 athletes from 12 countries will be competing for points in 20 men’s and 20 women’s events, with millions of viewers watching it live on TV.

Great Britain and NI will take on Belarus, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Ukraine and Turkey in a battle to become European Team Champions.

The competition format is different to a regular athletics meeting, with the emphasis placed on national team points instead of individual results.

Four Olympic 2012 medallists from Team GB are in the team, including Mo Farah and Christine Ohuruogu.

Weightman believes the team is strong and capable of victory.