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Enfield and Haringey sprinter Henry inspired by Olympic Games
2:20pm Thursday 23rd August 2012 in Sport
Enfield sprint sensation Desiree Henry knows full well that she has been earmarked for greatness after lighting the torch at the London 2012 opening ceremony.
But after returning to the stadium as a spectator rather than a participant, the 16-year-old welcomes the pressure that has been placed on her young shoulders.
City and Islington College pupil Henry was invited by the SPAR Sprint Stars programme to watch the men’s 200m heats along with other up and coming young British sprinters.
And the Enfield and Haringey AC athlete, who last year set a new 200m world record while winning gold in the World Youth Championships, admitted that being in the stands to watch the likes of Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake in action had inspired her all over again.
“With the media attention I have had there is suddenly a little bit of pressure on me to make sure I am improving because Rio 2016 is definitely my goal,” she said.
“The atmosphere in the stadium was incredible, just to see the roar the GB athletes got was amazing. It was nice for me to be on the other side of things in that stadium.
“For me as a 200m runner it was really nice to watch the men go through their heats Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake running ridiculous times without breaking sweat.
“And that’s really inspirational for me, the whole UKA and Olympic committee are really backing up this ‘Inspire A Generation’ thing, and coming here gives me up close and personal motivation to keep working and training hard.
“If I’m willing to work hard and I’ve certainly got the passion then I don’t see a reason why I can’t make the Rio 2016 team.
“But I know that I have to be so dedicated and really up my game if I am to stand a chance of being on the same level as the people I have been watching in this amazing stadium.”
Henry was one of seven promising youngsters selected to light the Olympic torch in the climax of Danny Boyle’s fantastic opening ceremony.
Only Henry’s mother was allowed to know what her daughter’s role in the show was going to be, meaning that she had to keep it a secret from her father and her three sisters.
But after shocking the world with her appearance Henry has already set her sights on appearing at an Olympics as a competitor in the not-too-distant future.
But before then the teenager is looking at securing a berth at next year’s European Junior Championships in Italy.
“I felt so honoured to be part of the opening ceremony,” she added.
“It has given me that extra motivation to push as hard as I can. I had a meniscus tear in my knee earlier in the season so to get to the World Juniors this summer, make the final and finish fourth with a season’s best is pretty pleasing.
“European Juniors next year is my next goal so I am hoping to qualify for that as another stepping stone on my way to Rio 2016.”
Brought to you by SPAR, Official Sponsors of UK Athletics. For more information visit www.spar.co.uk