Ankier’s Olympic dream almost a reality

Jo Ankier moved a step closer to realising her ambitions by achieving the British Olympics qualifying standard time at a race in Belgium on Saturday.

Fresh from a month of altitude training in Flagstaff, Arizona, the 25-year-old crossed the line at the Night of the Euros 3,000 metres steeplechase in 9:43:88, one tenth of a second inside the time set by the British Olympics Association to make her one of just two British runners to have achieved the required standard.

Although the time does not yet guarantee her a place in the British squad travelling to Beijing in August, she said: “I think it gives me a very good chance of getting on the team. Things are looking very positive but there is still a little work to do.”

During her time in America, Ankier, who trained at 7,000 feet, achieved her goals of “increasing her lactic tolerance and aerobic capacity”. Her next outing is in Oslo tonight at the Bislett Games, an IAAF Golden League event. There she will be up against her rivals for the GB squad, including Helen Clitheroe. She said: “I am very excited. It could be make or break as there are four runners in contention for three places. If I can beat them it will take a lot of the pressure off.”

Ankier hopes to cement her place at the British Olympic trials in Manchester on the weekend of July 12.

    Last updated: 3:15pm, June 6 2008