Francis puts London 2012 woes behind her
EDEN Francis admits watching London 2012 on her television rather than being in the capital was tough to take, but after ending her season on a high with victory at the McCain Jumps and Throws Fest, the shot putter is adamant lightning won't strike twice.
BOUNCING BACK: Eden Francis had to sit out the London 2012 Olympics but already she's plotting a route to Rio 2016
The 23-year-old looked all set for a spot in the Great Britain athletics squad heading to the capital for the Games, starting the season in style by winning the Indoor UK Championships.
However disaster struck with the Olympic trials on the horizon as a freak training accident left her with a knee injury that seriously hampered her performance.
Francis had thrown an Olympic B standard and personal best distance in winning the Loughborough International in May, but not being fully fit she was unable to secure an A standard throw of 18.30m at either June's Olympic Trials or in Helsinki at the European Championships.
That meant she was forced to watch the Olympics from her sofa, but she reminded everyone of her talent as she blew the cobwebs away in Birmingham last Saturday, winning women's shot put gold with 16.03m.
And although the McCain ThrowsFest, the leading competition for jumps and throws in the UK, marks the end of her season and although some tough winter training lies ahead, Francis insists she can't wait to get going to out her 2012 disappointment behind her.
"Although I won I didn't do too great," she said. "I had not trained for six weeks because of my knee injury so I was not really expecting great things and we also threw in the most uphill circle I have ever known.
"So it wasn't conducive to long throws anyway but I still thought I would be able to get out a lot more than I did.
"I picked up a knee injury just before trials and I have been struggling with it since and after not getting selected in the Olympics I thought it was an ideal opportunity to rest my knee so I am able to get back into winter training quickly rather than wait the season out to start late.
"The injury definitely came at the worst time, I was at the fittest I have ever been at and I was doing consistently well in training and throwing consistently in competitions and I think I was just starting to really peak.
"So it was very bad timing but that is life and at least I have ended on a high note with this victory and now I can look forward to getting into winter training and putting it all behind me."
Despite having no Great British interest in the women's shot put at London 2012, and the fact that she felt she should have been there, Francis still couldn't tear her eyes away from the screen.
But in four years' time she believes she will have much more than a mere spectating brief when the Games moves to Rio.
"I did still watch the Olympics because there was a lot I could still learn but obviously I watched it with a feeling of disappointment still, especially when seeing that the girl that came last in the shot was throwing a lot less than I am capable of," she added.
"But that has just made me stronger and more determined and now the Rio Olympics is the big aim and the first step for me is the World Championships in Moscow."
The McCain Challenge Competition - which covers Indoor, Outdoor track and field and Cross Country - is the country's premier domestic athletics series. Supported generously by UKA's Principal Partner McCain, the series provides top quality competition opportunities.