Okparaebo targets gold in Göteborg via England | 23.10.2012
|Norwegian sprinter Ezinne Okparaebo is eyeing the
gold medal at the next European Athletics Indoor
Championships in Göteborg.
The Norwegian record holder is thinking of taking up residence in Loughborough as she prepares for the winter season which she hopes will culminate in victory in Sweden, although she has yet to make a final decision on her plans.
"I have got silver and bronze from the last two European Athletics Indoor Championships so obviously gold is the objective now," the 24-year-old, who holds indoor and both national outdoor sprint records, was quotes as saying in Norwegian newspaper Daglbladet on 3 October. "I am going all out for the European indoors and will be competing throughout the whole of the winter season."
2012 was Okparaebo's best season to date, assembling no fewer than five national records. The year started with a bang when she clocked 7.17 for 60m in Birmingham in February.
That made her equal fourth on the European lists for the year. She then went on to record three outdoor records over 100m, finally leaving it at 11.10 when she was fourth in the Olympic semi-final, just missing out on a place in the final by 0.06.
Over the 200m she was equally in record setting mood with 23.30, a time that she repeated in the heats in London.
"Even though I am thinking about moving my base from Florida to England, that does not mean to say my training will be any different," explained the 24-year-old to Daglbladet at a press conference in Oslo.
"I will follow the same schedule as I did before. In the run-in to the Olympics I increased the work load considerably and if I continue like that this winter I will continue to improve."
Ekparaebo has always competed indoors as her two European indoor medals testify. It was only this year that she gave it a miss because it was Olympic year: "This year was an exception," she said. "Most years I have competed throughout the whole of the winter and so it won't be a problem this year either."
Her coach, Rana Reidar, may also move from his base in Florida to Loughborough where it is expected other Norwegian sprinters will be taking up residence with Okparaebo's former coach, Leif Olav Alnes, also in attendance. However, the athlete is yet to make a final decision on her training plans.
"... I am positive about training in England. It is closer to Norway and good from an educational point of view. But I won't only be in England, I shall also go to a training camp in South Africa, but there are also good indoor facilities in England built in connection with the Olympics. "
When she is not training, Okparaebo is studying for a BA at Business school in Oslo: "It is important for me to have something to concentrate on apart from sport," she said, with a view to a profession once her athletics career is over.
In the meantime, all her efforts are concentrated on March 3 when the 60m final takes place in Göteborg. If she wins there will be double cause for celebration. She will be 25 on the same day!