Race gives Laura big boost before Games

Laura Weightman competing in the 1500m of the London Grand Prix, part of the Diamond League series.
Laura Weightman competing in the 1500m of the London Grand Prix, part of the Diamond League series.

Middle-distance star Laura Weightman insists she has been given a timely confidence boost ahead of this summer’s Olympic Games, after an encouraging performance at a top-class athletics meet.

The 1500m runner competed in a high-calibre field on Friday, during the Aviva London Grand Prix, as part of the Samsung Diamond League – which attracts the world’s best athletes.

Laura, 21, finished fourth in 4:08.19; pipped to a top-three finish by two-time world championships gold medallist Maryam Yusuf Jamal, who won the race in 4:06.78, and American athletes Jenny Simpson and Anna Pierce.

But Laura, from Lesbury, finished in front of Team GB colleagues Lisa Dobriskey and Hannah England, as well as other experienced runners including current Olympic 1500m champion Nancy Langat, who won gold in Beijing in 2008.

And the Morpeth Harrier admits she has taken great heart from the race – her last one before the 2012 Games.

She said: “I was pleased with the race. I have not run many races at that level and it was a good-qualityy field.

“It was a good type of race for me too as it was very much like I think it will be in the Olympics.

“It was very tactical and I learnt a lot from it and it has given me a confidence boost.”

Laura, who is coached by middle-distance legend Steve Cram, is Portugal-bound at the end of the month for a training camp and will arrive at the Olympic Village at the start of August. The first round of the women’s 1500m is scheduled for August 6, followed by the semi-finals two days later, before the final on August 10.

Laura sealed her Games spot by finishing first at the UK Trials last month, having already run two Olympic A standard times, including a 4:04.88 personal best.

She has received overwhelming support and has been supplied with a Renault Cleo from car retailer Benfield Renault.

She said: “I want to thank everyone for the support. I’ve had cards, congratulations and good-luck wishes, even from people I don’t know. I can’t wait to compete in the Olympics.”