Lynsey Sharp reckons new training regime will pay off on global stage

Lynsey Sharp has been training in Boston and Florida
Lynsey Sharp has been training in Boston and Florida
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Lynsey Sharp says there’s no place like home but the Capital star claims her Stateside stints have put her on track for a shot at an Olympic medal this summer.

The 2012 European champion, 25, tonight begins her quest for a first global triumph at the World Indoor Championships in Portland with the semi-finals of the 800 metres taking place this evening.

The Scottish record holder was yesterday handed a plumb draw by avoiding her major rivals with just one automatic spot in tomorrow’s final available from each heat.

But it’s the training she’s done with her American coach Terrence Mahon, she admits, that’s got her believing that 2016 will be her year after the pain of missing out on last season’s outdoor world final in Beijing, even if it now means living out of a suitcase to criss-cross the Atlantic.

“I like being in different places,” she said. “I like being away with like-minded people. Terrence has a good group of people and Chris O’Hare is there too. It’s really valuable having Terrence’s input and having him there on a daily basis. It’s been good even though the weather is terrible.

“Florida and Boston are very different. But splitting my time between the two works out well. Being in one place for six weeks is a long time away, even though I’m hardly home. Being three weeks in Florida and three weeks in Boston works out well and I’m looking to do a similar thing in April time.”

The ever-outspoken Sharp has been vocal in support of extending Russia’s ban past Rio 2016 until their drug testing system is beyond suspicion, no shock for someone who was promoted to European gold when original winner Yelena Arzhakova was banned for doping.

But proof that the current regime is still catching the cheats came this week when Ukrainian rival Nataliya Lupu withdrew from Portland after testing positive for meldonium, the drug that cost tennis ace Maria Sharapova her whiter-than-white image.

“It has shaken me a bit because she’s someone who is just 14 months back from a ban,” Sharp said. “It demonstrates they have no respect for the sport. They don’t care about anything other than making money. It just underlines that nothing other than lifetime bans will stop people from doing it.”

The hope is that the victor in Portland will turn out to be running clean.

Even if she misses out on a medal, the experiences so far this winter will stand her in good stead come the battle for Olympic supremacy.

“I’ve not really done an indoor season before,” the Edinburgh AC star said. “But we wanted to try and reduce the time away from competition.

“We’ll see how it works for outdoors but I’m confident in Terrence’s ability to give me a block of training and strength stuff after that. I’ll probably open up a little later than last season, knowing I can get down to 1:59 quicker than then.”

France’s Renaud Lavillene picked up the first gold in Portland in the pole vault despite missing three attempts to break his own world record while the USA’s Jen Suhr won the women’s pole title. Scots pair Steph Twell and Jo Moultrie will both aim for medals in tomorrow’s 3000m final.