Hopeson ready for test at Olympic trial meeting
TWINELLE Hopeson will be going to Birmingham this weekend to "enjoy myself".
The 20-year-old Croydon Harrier will line up alongside the country's best in both the 100m and the 200m at the Olympic trials.
And the youngster has not set herself any time targets, preferring to go and "enjoy the experience".
She said: "I have just finished my exams, so I'm 100 per cent focused on this weekend.
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"I have been selected for the 100m and 200m, which I'm really happy about and I'm just going to go there and enjoy it and make the most of it.
"I just want to see what I can do in such a big race. I will be up against the highest level of competitors in the country that I have ever raced against, it does not get much bigger than that.
"So I really just want to enjoy it and do what I can among the best people in the country.
"I'm really excited about it."
And she may very well enjoy it a little bit more after receiving a mentoring session from double Olympic medallist Rebecca Romero at Croydon Arena on Wednesday.
Romero and Hopeson met up at the sprinter's home track as part of Partnership's Athlete Scheme. The pensions and equity company, based in Redhill, have funded Hopeson to the tune of £5,000 to help her development and mentoring from ambassador Romero is all part of the process.
One piece of 'enjoyable' advice in particular went down well with Hopeson.
Romero told her: "Something I developed when I was on the start line was that if I was feeling nervous, I would put my head down and put a big grin on my face and then come up and even though it's a false kind of smile, it switches you to think more positively."
Hopeson said that she "liked that idea" and that she would use it in her build-up, impressing that anyone watching this weekend would probably see her with a big grin on her face as a result.
Now her Loughborough University exams are over, Hopeson will be back in Croydon for the summer and is looking forward to getting back in the groove.
She added: "Because of my exams I have not raced for the last two weeks so I'm excited to get back racing again and focus on a summer on the track."
It was almost surreal watching Hopeson and Romero together on the track, not least because it was the young sprinter who appeared to be teaching her 32-year-old double Olympic medal-winning mentor how to get out of the blocks quickly.
So, with rowing and cycling medals in her pocket already and an IronMan competition looming large in July, after witnessing the session between the two, could sprinting be chalked off the list of potential third Olympic sports for Romero?
"Oh yes," she said. "I knew I would not be able to get out [of the blocks]. That's a definite no to sprinting, I thought I was going to fall flat on my face!"
The duo spent more than an hour together and while their sports are vastly different, there are similarities and they could discuss the mental and psychological side of things.
Romero said: "It's more about experiences with me and Twinelle and this was as much for me to come and see what it is that she does, because you can see sports on TV and make assumptions, but that experience of getting in the blocks you can't get.
"I've really enjoyed it and anything that Twinelle or any of the others want to ask me they can.
"And the one tiny thing it might be that I can pass on that hits home or changes the way someone thinks or has a positive effect is great. It's the tiny things that make a difference."
Hopeson added: "I have learned a lot about the intense training that Rebecca does and what it takes to put your body through things and making the tiny improvements that need to be made and I think her for the advice given. It might be handy."
Look out for the smile on BBC2 this weekend.