Croydon sprinter Martyn Rooney will do 'whatever it takes' for the Olympics
MARTYN Rooney says going back to basics helped him gain early-season A standards as he strides towards the Olympic Games.
The Croydon Harrier clocked 44.97 seconds over 400m in Hengelo, Holland, at the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games recently.
It was the third time this season that Rooney, 25, has run inside the A standard, having not run under 45 seconds all of last season.
Trying new things in training to find an edge going into last summer did not work, says Rooney, from Thornton Heath.
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"Basically, I've gone back and done the hard training that we've done in the past, having experimented with something else the previous winter," he said.
The sprinter followed up his first A standard in America in April, while on a UK Athletics training camp, with another at the Doha Diamond League meeting in early May.
But he now aims to keep a lower profile before the UK trials at the end of next week to concentrate on fulfilling a potential that saw him finish sixth in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Rooney also ran in the Loughborough International, but only in the relays, emphasising his low-profile approach.
"It was the aim for the time of the year to get a couple of races in and get the time before the trials," he said of his early good form. "It was nice to get it sorted."
And at the trials he anticipates – and hopes for – a tough contest as he aims to cement his Olympic place, by finishing in the top two.
"From a British point of view I hope there is competition, which means there is a likelihood I will run quicker," he said.
As for what time he thinks he needs to run to gain success at the Olympics, he said he was aiming for "whatever it takes".
Not that he is making predictions in what is a tough event, with Americans LaShawn Merritt (44.19) and Jeremy Wariner (44.96) joining Rooney in being ranked in the top 15 this year.
They are the Olympic champion and silver medallist.
And it is not just an individual medal that Rooney is aiming for.
"The stronger the competition in the trials the more likely we're going to have a strong relay team," he said "and at the end of the day that's another opportunity to win a medal."
Internationally, he says there are "always people coming through", who would no doubt include Santos Luguelín, of Dominica, 18, who has the second best time in the world this year.
"It's going to be competitive in the Olympics and hopefully I will be in the mix," he said, looking forward to competing against the world's best in the globe's biggest event just a few miles away from where he grew up.
"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity and you've got to make it count," he said of competing on home soil. "Not many [British] athletes have had this opportunity and future generations are not likely to ever have it either."
Rooney had the chance to see the Stratford Stadium in March, but his parents - like so many people - have struggled in their efforts to gain tickets.
Luckily, UK Athletics have secured pairs of tickets for each session that an athlete will be taking part in, allowing his parents to see him race.