City duo go on Trial with Olympics in sight

Katy Watts will be bidding for GB selection, along with Mandy Gault at the Aviva Trials

Katy Watts will be bidding for GB selection, along with Mandy Gault at the Aviva Trials

Lachlan Wellington. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Opening night for the Lakeside 5k Series

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City of Portsmouth duo Katy Watts and Mandy Gault will be under the national spotlight as they bid for Olympic selection this weekend.

Both have been invited to take part in the Aviva 2012 Trials, which will determine the Great Britain athletics squad for this year’s London Games.

City team-mate Richard Shuttleworth was also due to compete in the javelin.

A groin injury forced him to pull out of the reckoning in Birmingham, though, leaving Watts and Gault to fly the City flag on the big stage.

Gault will compete in the 400m hurdles tomorrow (1.30pm) – just a year after taking up the event.

Watts, meanwhile, will resume her rivalries with the best of British in the javelin on Sunday (3.30pm), having been competing at the top of the national rankings for the past eight seasons.

The 31-year-old, who has a personal best of 52.41m, took silver last year when the event incorporated selection for the World Championships.

Her best is some way short of the Olympic A qualifying standard of 61m.

But Watts is keen to make the most of her opportunity and excel among her main rivals.

Watts said: ‘Everyone will be there. It’s a massive competition, which is very open in javelin terms.

‘Goldie (Sayers) is obviously out there on her own and is the favourite.

‘But the rest of the competition is a very open and could go either way, depending on the weather.

‘British number three Laura Whittingham is only coming back from injury and isn’t 100 per cent, so it could be very interesting.

‘The qualification standards are a bit beyond me at the minute.

‘But you just never know.

‘If the wind is behind us and helps lifts the javelin, anything is possible.

‘I’m hoping for a top-three position but if the weather is nice I’d like to think I can get a new PB as well.’

Watts added she was determined to make the most of her big-meet experience.

‘I have good experience of the big events and I seem to like them better than others,’ she said.

‘They bring out the best in me and this one is one I’ve been focusing on all season.

‘You want to peak at the major events and hopefully I will at Birmingham.

‘The standard is a lot higher than normal. It’s definitely a lot more competitive but hopefully I can do well.’

Gault earned her qualification after her second-place finish for City in their first UK League meeting of the season.

That was only her ninth race over the distance and she goes to Birmingham in high spirits after setting a new PB (61.99secs) when coming second in the Northern Ireland Championships.

The 28-year-old knows the competition will be of the highest standard at the Alexander Stadium.

But she’s determined to continue her dramatic rise up the ranks in front of the national selectors.

‘I’m already quite nervous but hopefully I can do myself justice and continue to improve my times,’ said Gault.

‘This is a great opportunity for me. I haven’t been doing the hurdles long and I’m still learning, really.

‘But I’m taking a lot of comfort with how far I’ve come in a short space of time. I’m really excited.’

n Cassie Thorp was the first female home and third overall at the Lavant 5-mile Road Race on Wednesday,

The City of Portsmouth talent finished the course in a time of 27mins 50secs – just 10 seconds behind second-placed men’s competitor Rob Ward.

Chichester Runners’ James Baker was first overall, while City’s Emma Monteith was second in the female category.

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