MARCH athlete Louise Hazel has hinted at a new sporting career after disappointing in her Olympic debut in London.
While team-mate Jess Ennis soaked up the adulation of the crowd after winning a famous gold on a famous night, Hazel was left to reflect on a performance that failed to deliver.
“I have been doing this for 16 years and I fancy a break,” said the former Neale Wade pupil.
“I need a physical and mental rest. I’d love to try another sport and who knows I might try another discipline.
“You also might see me in the heptathlon next year, I’ll keep you waiting.
“I have entered a golfing competition in September and I am thinking I will speak to the beach volleyball team and see what they think.
“Rio, four years to learn it, I’ve spent half my life in sand - what do you think? We’ll see how it goes.”
The 2010 Commonwealth champion and 15th at last year’s World Championships, Hazel finished a distant 27th with a points score of 5,856 well down on her 6,166 personal best from last year and her worst performance over seven events since disappointing in Gotzsis two years ago.
The only real highlight was a massive 47.38 metre personal best in the javelin, that Hazel certainly milked in front of the capacity crowd at the Olympic Stadium.
The 26-year-old Hazel had started the competition on Friday as one of the first athletes to compete at the new stadium in the 100 metre hurdles with a very solid fourth in 13.48 not far off a personal best to collect 1,053 points. But unfortunately she was below her best in the high jump, definitely one of her weaker events, when she cleared just 1.59m and then failed at three attempts at 1.62 when her best is 1.74m.
That setback saw her tumble from 15th place in the standings down to 36th place and in the shot putt she was back on song throwing 12.81 just five centimetres short of her personal best.
On the Friday evening, in front of a very patriotic 80,000 crowd, the former March AC performer really showed she’s a fighter when winning her 200m heat and defeating Bejing Olympic champion Natalya Dobrynska in a season’s best time of 24.48secs to take her up to 34th place
On Saturday she had a disappointing long jump with 5.77 when she had previously jumped six metres plus regularly, but bounced back with a record in the javelin and then finished fourth in her 800m heat in 2min 18.7secs for 840 points in the evening.
She was watched in the stadium by both her mum and nan and said: “That was the toughest two days ever, what a battle. The highlight of the competition was the javelin. I would have liked more highs than lows but I think you just take in the whole experience and for me it is nice to be able to go away and know that I gave everything.
“The crowd was amazing and it is definitely the best championships I have competed in. I think some people forget that we are human and sometimes we stuff it up and sometimes we get it right but at the end of the day the gold medal is only the reality for a few.
“And for the rest it is all about the journey and to be honest I have loved every minute.”
Hazel was one of the first to congratulate Ennis, rushing onto the track with young team-mate Katarina Johnson-Thompson.
“I’m so proud of her, she rose to the occasion and was an inspiration,” she said.
“I was in tears when she crossed the line, I was so proud and I felt like I had given birth to her myself.”
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