MANDY GAULT admitted her Irish Indoor Athletics Championships experience was bitter sweet after winning bronze in Dublin.
The City of Portsmouth 400m runner was back on home soil at the weekend as she stepped up her 2017 programme.
With eyes firmly fixed on making next year’s Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games team, the 33-year-old was determined to make an impression.
And while she did, recording a new indoor personal best of 55.06sec as she finished third behind Phil Healy (53.49) and Sinead Denny (53.74), Gault said she was disappointed with her time in the final.
‘Before the indoor season had started, I set myself a target – unfortunately I didn’t achieve it,’ she said.
‘I was hoping I would at the Irish indoors. It’s always good to return home and remind a few people of what I’m capable of.
‘But it didn’t work out as I had planned and that’s the frustrating thing.
‘Phil and Sinead are two top-class athletes who are very fast over 400m.
‘Full credit to them, but I know I’m capable of running just as fast, if not better.
‘I knew I had more in me in the latter stages of the race, but I think all the travelling I had to do in the build up to Sunday’s final finally caught up with me.
‘I’m still pleased to run a new indoor PB and win bronze – the highlights were also shown on Irish TV on Sunday night and my running looked okay.
‘I just wished I had come closer to the target I set myself as that was my last indoor competition of the year.’
The previous weekend, Gault was in Sheffield competing in the British Indoor Championships after making the qualification standards last season.
She narrowly missed out on a semi-final spot after posting a time of 55.31 in her heat.
That has added to her frustrations over the winter, yet the City ace is confident things will soon click into place.
‘Indoor competitions are always difficult, and they’re not my favourite,’ added Gault.
‘I’ve had a really good winter with my coach Terry Price and we both know there’s a lot more to come.
‘I feel confident I can achieve the goals I’ve set myself for the summer – and picking the right races will enable me to run as fast as I know we can.
‘There’s a lot of hard work still to be done but I’m hungry and determined to achive my goals.’