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Newham Beagle Flannery has eyes trained on Commonwealth Games

Niall Flannery of Newham and Essex Beagles Niall Flannery of Newham and Essex Beagles

Wednesday, December 4, 2013
3:00 PM

Newham and Essex Beagle Niall Flannery is taking a leaf out of Olympic silver medallist Colin Jackson’s book as he settles into a winter readying himself for a shot at the Commonwealth Games.

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The 22-year-old made significant strides in 2013, ducking under the 50-second barrier for the 400m hurdles for the first time, yet, was unable to claim a medal on the international stage.

Two years after finishing eighth in the 400m hurdles final at the European under-23 Championships in Ostrava, Flannery placed fourth this time around in Tampere back in July.

And, satisfied upon reflection of his season, Flannery is using Jackson – who won Olympic 110m hurdles silver at Seoul 1988 – as inspiration to reach next year’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

“It would have been nice to have done slightly better. I mean coming fourth at the Europeans was frustrating at the time,” said Flannery.

“It would have been nice to get a medal, but I think realistically that was just out of my reach. Generally satisfied would be a good choice of words to use for the season.

“Obviously I’m in winter training now, so I’m just happy to be back grinding it out. When I was younger I always looked at Colin Jackson.

“He was always at the major championships, striving to better himself. He had the world record, but wasn’t resting on his laurels. He always wanted to win the
Olympics as his ultimate goal.”

The A qualifying standard for the 400m hurdles for Glasgow 2014 has been set at 49.10 seconds with Flannery’s personal best a 49.62 clocked in France two weeks before his trip to Tampere.

And Flannery, who is in his
final year studying at Loughborough University, insists he is in an environment in which he can realistically edge towards and hit that qualification time.

He added: “Living in an environment like this enables you to focus on it as the main thing rather than the secondary.

“I finish university this year and I’m looking to stay around and just concentrate on athletics after that and I don’t think I can do that anywhere else.

“The support I get is focused on making sure that I’m competing and training to a top-level, which is obviously why it’s got such a good reputation around the country.”

Lloyds Bank Local Heroes, in partnership with Sports Aid, has supported 1,000 of Britain’s most talented developing athletes.

As part of Lloyds Bank’s commitment to helping future sports stars prosper, the programme has continued in 2013. Follow future stars at www.lloydsbank.com/localheroes.

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