Rooney's mind games working

Kingston Guardian: In form: Martyn Rooney. Picture: Mike Fleet In form: Martyn Rooney. Picture: Mike Fleet

While most athletes spend hours obsessing over personal bests, Martyn Rooney has all-but torn up his record book in a bid to finally deliver on his global medal potential at London 2012.

The Croydon runner’s best-ever 400m time coincides with arguably the finest hour of his career, when he clocked 44.60 seconds in the semi-final of the Beijing Olympics before ending the final in sixth.

But the 25-year-old has consistently failed to deliver on that potential ever since – with a 2010 European Championship bronze medal all he has to show for his efforts.

So, in a bid to re-invent himself for a shot at London 2012 glory, Rooney has, in his own mind, lowered his personal best to a level such that he can compete for the Games silverware.

“I believe I have forgotten about my old personal best and set another one in my head so, even if I run 44.6, I will know there is more to come,” he said.

“There are going to be so many guys running 44.6 this year, that’s not good enough to win a medal.

“If I want to win a medal then I need to run faster, it’s very simple athletics.”

It’s an approach that seems to be working so far, having set his fastest times since 2008 in the first half of this year, but he is only too aware he needs to emerge unscathed from the battle ground that is the Olympic Trials in Birmingham on June 22-24.

With the A-standard qualification time already in the bag this year, Rooney knows a top-two finish at the trials will guarantee his Olympic berth – a pressure-free situation he is revelling in.

“I got my A-standard which is what I wanted early because it’s nice to get that out of the way,” he added.

“Obviously, going into the trials with an A-standard helps but between now and then I have just got to keep racing, the only difference it means is that I can go out and relax and just run which makes it a lot easier for me.

“Hopefully, that means some personal bests will come and we’ll do all right.

“There are probably 10 guys who think they can go to the Olympics and three opportunities, so we’ll see.”

Back the team and watch more than 750 British best athletes at the Aviva 2012 Trials in Birmingham from June 22-24. For tickets visit uka.org.uk/aviva-series or call 08000 55 60 56.

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