Eilidh Doyle determined to make most of golden years

Eilidh Doyle won her final at the European Team Championships
Eilidh Doyle won her final at the European Team Championships
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With the Grand Slam of Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth medals in her bag, Eilidh Doyle could have called it quits after Rio last summer and claimed maximum use from a season ticket for Tynecastle.

But the 400 metres hurdles, not Hearts, is set to eat up her weekends for a few years yet with the Pitreavie ace taking the high road to Tokyo 2020.

First up for the 30-year-old is this summer’s IAAF World Championships via this weekend’s trials in Birmingham where Scotland’s most successful athlete of the modern era will be bidding for a fourth British title in a row.

But with her spot in London in five weeks’ time all but locked in, she has vowed to soak up the big occasions rather than let them pass by.

“Everybody has told me to enjoy it,” she said. “I’m very chilled out normally but I’m quite a serious person when I’m at the track – I don’t want to say quite grumpy – but if I don’t have a good training session, I can be quite hard on myself.

“My husband Brian, my old coach Malcolm, my Mum and Dad, they’ve all told me to enjoy it more and not take it too seriously. That’s what I need to do because I am coming to the latter part of my career. I want to really take in all these moments and I have to take a different approach.”

Doyle underlined she’s running into form by winning the European Team Championships for the second time in Lille last week in her quickest time of 2017 – with the prospect of earning a double crack in London as part of a 4x400m relay squad aiming to match their Olympic bronze last summer.

But even when there were a few early season struggles, the perk of ageing is realising that one stumble doesn’t spell doom.

“It’s good to tap into all the races I have done,” the Edinburgh University graduate said. “When you have a bad situation, you can go: ‘well, I’ve done that before.’ You use that experience to move forward.

“A few years ago, if I’d run how I did in Rome a few weeks ago, I wouldn’t have wanted to watch that race again. But I’ve looked at it and taken good things from it in terms of thinking how I improve. Being able to evaluate and progress, that’s good to see.”

Several Capital hopes will look to make an impression when the two-day trials start tomorrow with in-form Lynsey Sharp also aiming for a fourth domestic crown in the women’s 800m after a surprise silver 12 months ago, while Lasswade’s Guy Learmonth, currently ranked only ninth in the UK in 2017, needs a quick time and top-two placing to guarantee a berth in London in the men’s 800m.

But one of the most-anticipated clashes is set to be Sunday’s 1500m final with the prospect of Edinburgh AC trio Jake Wightman, Josh Kerr and Chris O’Hare all vying for medals – and world slots.

But Wightman, currently ranked number one, said: “If you can’t come through your own trials with a spot in the top three, it’s going to be hard to do well at worlds.

“There’s a similar kind of pressure and it will be a massive confidence boost if you know you made the British team with the current level of competition and the rounds you have to negotiate. But it’s going to be tough.

“Everyone around me can race well. I don’t know how it will turn out but it’s going to be great to compete in that.”

Elsewhere, teen prospect Cameron Tindle will get a final chance to earn an individual spot at next month’s European junior championships when he competes for GB&NI at the Mannheim Gala in Germany.