Despite battling a shin injury, Leitrim’s Laura Reynolds is aiming for Euro success in the coming weeks as the Eslin native competes in the 20K walk European Under 23 Track & Field Championships in Ostrava in the Czech Republic.
The Mohill Athletic Club walker will travel to Ostrava in Czech Republic to compete in the Women’s 20Km Walk at the European Under 23 Track and Field Championships on Sunday, July 17, taking to the road at 10am local time (11am Irish) as she has set her sights on a top six finish in the Continental Championships despite a niggling shin complaint which has hampered her training over the last few weeks.
“I will be looking to finish in the top six in Ostrava. I have a bit of a shin niggle which I’m receiving physiotherapy for in Dublin for, but it’s nothing too serious,” 22-year-old Laura, a multiple winner of underage titles who first came to national prominence when winning the National Community Games title in Mosney, told the Observer.
This is Laura’s second time to compete at the European Championships, having finished 15th in 2009 when she was the youngest walker to compete in that race. She travels with her team to the Czech Republic on July 12, before some light training in Ostrava prior to the race.
“We fly out the Tuesday beforehand and I’ll have some taper training (light, pre-race training) in the days running up to the race. I’ll just have some small track sessions to prepare prior to the competition.”
Laura has been training hard for the race and wants to improve on that 15th place two years ago. “I’ve been training 6 days a week, twice a day and I run about 120k a week. I was the youngest person on the track in 2009 ,and I’m looking to improve on the 15th place finish this year.”
Incredibly, the Ostrava event won’t be Laura’s only major event this Summer as, after the U-23 Championships in Ostrava, Laura then travels to the World Student Games in Shenzhen, China. The games commence on the second week of August and will host over 20 events including cycling, weight lifting and even chess.
Although the events are coming thick and fast for her, the race in the Czech Republic is all that’s on Laura’s mind: “I just want to get over this race first, then think about the Student Games in China. The heat and humidity will certainly be tough to deal with out there but Ill deal with that when it comes around.”
Already this season has been a break-through year for the Leitrim walker as she achieved the B standard qualifying time for both the World Championships this year in Daegu, South Korea and next year’s Olympic Games in London, an achievement which should mean a move up on the Irish Sports Council Carding Scheme.
The Cardeing Scheme means that Laura is entitled to grants and medical support through the Irish Sports Council and Athletics Ireland. The scheme was set up in 1998 in order to provide Irish athletes with a range of support to assist them to perform at the highest levels on an international stage and supports athletes like Laura, who have the potential to deliver medals on an Olympic stage.
Along with assistance from the ISC, Laura, a Sports Scholarship student in DCU, was also presented with a years free membership at AURA Leitrim Leisure at Carrick-on-Shannon to assist her in her winter training.
Laura is coached by fellow Leitrim walker and Olympian Colin Griffin. Griffin himself, qualified for the last Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 along with two World Championships, a European Championships and will also compete in Korea later this year.