"I want to step off the track knowing I've given everything" says Child ahead of World Champs
Published 21 August 2015
When Eilidh Child stepped onto the track for the 400m hurdles at Letzigrund Stadium in Zurich for the 2014 European Championships, she did so knowing she was ranked number one in Europe. She was the one to beat.
All eyes were on Child, 27 at the time, as she sought to become the first British woman to win the European 400 m hurdles title since Sally Gunnell in 1994. She went on to finish eight-hundredths of a second ahead of Ukraine’s Anna Titimets and clocked her best time of the competition to claim gold.
"I was the favourite who everybody expected to win," says Child looking back. "I was ranked number one in Europe and I won, it’s great to say that I performed when I had to, and under pressure."
That is the sort of attitude Child is taking into the World Championships in Beijing, which start this weekend.
"It’s about using that experience at the Europeans to take into the World Championships, there’s no reason I can’t do that in Beijing."
Child has been in Japan with the rest of the British Athletics squad for a training camp ahead of Beijing as they look to acclimatise and adapt to the time difference.
"It’s a great team to be a part of,” she says. “When we have a camp it’s nice to all be away together. It adds a bit of a buzz and you start thinking about the competition a bit earlier [than if they were competing at home] and adds that excitement to it.
"Everybody is ready to go – it’s been a hard year to qualify and get the selections done, but now we’re all here we can get excited."
The 28-year-old finished fifth at the Moscow 2013 World Championships and Zuzana Hejnová’s winning time was 1.65 seconds quicker than her European-winning time, but Child is relishing the challenge.
"You get into the sport to be the best so you want to race against the best, doing so adds another element onto the competition and your motivation as an athlete.
"The best in the world are competing and we’re all happy to be here and competing against them, the Worlds are a huge thing to be part of. It’s just one year until Rio now so this is our last major champs so we want to make it count and perform well."
With such impressive competition in the highest profile athletics event outside of an Olympic Games, Child is focusing on her own performance and not those of her rivals.
"I want to step off the track knowing I’ve given everything. I could run a massive personal best and still finish eighth in the final. My attitude is that if I run the way I want to and I’ve given it everything, then I’m happy.
"That’s what I did last year and how I dealt with the pressure. I can’t control anything else in the race, so my saying ‘I’m going to win gold’ just adds that extra bit of pressure."
2014 saw the Scottish athlete crowned European champion, win a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games while also competing in the Diamond League. With the World Championships this year, it’s been a very busy schedule for Child.
"It’s great being busy, it keeps the momentum going," admits Child. "The nice thing about it is that if you have an injury or something doesn’t go to plan, then you know you’ve got something next year.
"There’s always something really exciting for me; I had London 2012 then Glasgow 2014 and with the World Championships coming to London in 2017, it’s been a really exciting period. When I look back, I don’t think many athletes have ever had a home Olympics, Commonwealths and Worlds in their careers."
With Rio 2016 less than a year away, Child isn’t losing sight of the big picture, but her steely focus is purely on Beijing at the moment.
"It helps to drive you on in training. I love what I do, but I do it because I want to compete. I do all of the gritty sessions because I want to race people so it’s great having a championships to focus on.
"You always have Rio at the back of your mind, but now we’re out here the full focus is on the World Championships."
The 2017 World Championships will be held in London in the Stadium on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as part of UK Sport’s National Lottery funded Major Events programme. You can register for tickets on the London 2017 website >