By Max Hall
Bexleyheath long jumper Lorraine Ugen believes it’s time to bring world-class track and field events back to London.
The 30-year-old, speaking after qualifying for Sunday night’s Commonwealth Games final, was asked whether the UK should host more events, given how raucous Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium has been this week.
“I feel like we have a good amount of events in the UK,” she told the South London Press. “It would be nice if we could have an event come back to London?
“But in the UK we have Diamond League, I feel like we know how to put on a good championships – I’m quite enjoying being here.
“It’s great. The atmosphere is fantastic. I’ve been seeing morning sessions, and evening sessions, it doesn’t really matter. The crowd is giving out a lot of energy, so I really need that.”
The first of Ugen’s three jumps was deemed invalid by the technology – even if the big-screen replay indicated no infringement to the naked eye – but she recovered to hit the qualifying distance with her second attempt.
“I thought it was valid, and it wasn’t,” she said of her first effort. “But I just think, you know what, on the first round I was thinking so much ‘don’t foul’ that my runway wasn’t quite right. With my second one, I just said: ‘do the run-up’.
“All of my approaches in the warm-up were fine, so I thought ‘just trust yourself and do the proper run-up’.”
That second leap notched 6.79 meters as one of only two jumps to clear the 6.75m automatic qualifying distance, along with a 6.84 effort from Australian Brooke Buschkuehl.
“It feels good to get automatic qualification,” said Ugen. “Coming back from the Worlds [World Championships in Eugene, Oregon] I really didn’t get the result I wanted, and I’m hoping that in front of a home crowd they can give me that extra push to hopefully get on the podium out here.”
As far as Sunday’s final is concerned, the Bexleyheath track and field star said: “I’m just gonna go out there, have fun, enjoy the home crowd and see what happens.”
PICTURE: MAX HALL