McLean vows to block out her demons in time for next season
RISING sprint hurdler Hayley McLean is vowing to stay out of her own head next year as she looks to bounce back from a difficult season.
BUILDING A WALL: Hayley McLean has vowed to become mentally strong over the winter after a difficult 2012 season
The 17-year-old looked all set to have a 2012 to remember after finishing second in a 400m hurdles invitational race at the BUCS Championships at the Olympic Stadium in May, clocking a personal best 58.57seconds.
However this was not without its controversy as McLean was disqualified, only to see the time reinstated, before she once again fell afoul of the rules just a month later.
Despite running the 400m hurdles qualifying time for the World Junior Championships at the trials in Bedford, she saw her dreams of heading out to Barcelona scuppered by disqualification.
And after a year of setbacks McLean believes she needs to work on her mental approach as much as her physical one over the winter.
"I am hoping to go to the European Junior Championships next year; that is the big one. But the other one is to just remain injury free," she said.
"This season began well and I ran at the Olympic Stadium at BUCS and that was really good but it all went downhill from there.
"I ran the world junior qualifying time but I was disqualified and I just couldn't get back up from there, but I am going to pick myself up for next season and hopefully it can only get better.
"I got disqualified at BUCS but I got reinstated and I was a bit shocked by it all because I had never been disqualified before.
"And then from that a lot of things were going around in my head and I just couldn't hurdle properly and I got really upset by it and mentally I was drained by it.
"I got a good race in and qualified for the worlds but I got disqualified again, so I think mentally it has not been my year. So next season hopefully I can build a wall and not let it get to me."
McLean's long-term aspirations in the sport were given a shot in the arm earlier this month when, as part of her involvement with the Spar Sprint Stars scheme, she was treated to a day in the stands at the Olympic Stadium.
And after seeing Usain Bolt and co in action, she added: "It really does inspire you, especially with all of the crowd cheering on the British athletes, it is inspiration to hopefully be in Rio and be a future Olympian.
"I think it would be overwhelming to be in that position so I think the athletes are doing do well to block it all out.
"It is fantastic to get a look at your event and it is nice to know that the guys doing it now were once where I was and hopefully I can be on that track in a few years time."
Brought to you by SPAR, Official Sponsors of UK Athletics. For more information visit www.spar.co.uk
© Sportsbeat 2012