WORTHING Harriers’ Emma Perkins is looking to defend her high jump title in the British University Championships (BUCS) at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday evening when up to 40,000 spectators could be in attendance.
Perkins, who is hoping to represent Great Britain in this year’s Olympics, went to a training day at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday – which was organised for potential Olympic competitors as part of preparation for the Games.
The Cambridge University student was pleased to visit the stadium, calling it “a good experience” but is now looking forward to Saturday’s competition and said: “The championships are a great opportunity for students all over the country to compete in an Olympic venue, and many competitors, myself included, will never before have competed on such a large stage.
“My high jump competition is on the Saturday evening, which will coincide with the UKA celebration of 2012 hours until the Olympics Games. It will feature UKA athletes and a number of celebrities, and will provide the unique experience of being watched by 40,000 spectators, so that is a slightly daunting, yet incredibly exciting prospect.”
After disappointment in the BUCS Indoor Championships when she finished third , Perkins is hoping for a positive performance in the outdoor championships this weekend and said: “I under-performed in the Indoor Championships and only managed to take the bronze medal.
“I am hoping to produce a much more positive performance. As defending champion from last year’s outdoor championships, I am, of course, hoping to retain my title, which would also mean setting the stadium record, which would be taken into the Olympic Games.
“I will have stiff competition from a girl in my training group, who jumped only one centimetre lower than me in the indoor season, though I am hoping this pressure will spur me on and, hopefully, result in a personal best performance.”
To qualify for the GB team for the Olympics, Perkins will have to jump the Olympic B standard of 1.92m – 3cm above her personal best.
She said: “There is no single qualification event, although the UK Olympic Trials on June 22-24 will be the main opportunity for selection.
“The main criteria for selection are the Olympic standards, which can be achieved at a number of specified competitions throughout the coming months, of which the BUCS Championships are an example.
“However, the trials are particularly important for those athletes that have achieved only the B-standard, as they must then also achieve a top-two finish in the trials, so this is the key event in terms of selection and on which many athletes will be focusing.
“After a successful indoor season where I improved my personal best by 6cm to 1.89m, within 3cm of the Olympic B-standard, I am very excited about the start of the outdoor season.
“I have not yet begun competing – the BUCS Championships will be my season opener – but training has been going very well.
“I have put in a lot of hard work since the end of the indoor season and have made big gains in speed and strength, so I’m looking forward to this expressing itself through my jumping.
“There’s still a lot of hard work to be done over the coming months but it’s all about giving myself the best possible chance of achieving that Olympic qualification standard and I’m really excited about the season to come.”