Illness just a blip for returning sprinter O'Neill
ELAINE O'Neill insists the Indoor UK Trials & Championships were a blip on an otherwise positive start to 2012 as she sets about ensuring injury and illness are the exception rather than the rule.
MINOR SETBACK: Elaine O'Neill was ill at the Indoor UK Trials & Championships in Sheffield
The 22-year-old was limited to making a mere handful of appearances last year after suffering with an Achilles problem but has already completed more races in 2012 than she did in 2011.
That amounts to six against five however the margin was prevented from being greater after O'Neill came down with illness in the build up to her trip to the EIS in Sheffield.
She clocked 7.58seconds to progress out of her heat and into the semi-final but she didn't take to the blocks second time around as Jeanette Kwakye eventually went on to take gold.
However O'Neill was quick to state that the decision was a precautionary one and is adamant the injury problems that blighted her so badly last year are a thing of the past.
"The heats weren't great, I have not been very well and I had quite a bad throat for about three days before coming to Sheffield so I wasn't at my best," said O'Neill.
"I kind of sat in the blocks so I had to consider what I was going to do because I wasn't feeling 100 per-cent. I tried not to panic and tried to rest up in the build up and tried just try to get healthy.
"I really wanted to run because it is such a step in the right direction after my injury last year. I am fully recovered now so it was just nice to get back into competing and back into the game again.
"My winter has prepared me really well and I'm a lot stronger and a lot fitter. I have a few technical things that need to be looked at for the outdoor season but apart from that I am all set."
And with this summer's Olympics at the top of her agenda, O'Neill, who benefits from support from the Lloyds TSB Local Heroes scheme, admits she may not pursue an indoor season for much longer.
"I think I will do the BUCS Indoors in Loughborough and then prepare for the outdoor season - I'm not going to do much more indoors I don't think," she added.
"I really want to make that British team this summer, especially looking at the relay, and I think if I can stay healthy then it is definitely a realistic aim."
Lloyds TSB Local Heroes, in partnership with SportsAid, provides support and funding to 344 emerging athletes all the way to London 2012 and beyond. Follow the future stars of TeamGB and ParalympicsGB at: www.lloydstsb.com/localheroes
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