Bracknell's Papps inspired by Olympic sprinters

Published: 17 Aug 2012 08:300 comments

AFTER watching Usain Bolt fly around the track in the Olympic Stadium, Bracknell sprinter Sophie Papps has set her sights on one day competing on the same stage.

Sophie Papps.

Talented 17-year-old Papps, who finished sixth in the 100 metre (m) final at the World Junior Championships this summer, was in the stands for the men's 200m heats in Stratford.

And the Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow Athletics Club runner, who is targeting Rio and the 2016 Olympics, admitted that the chance to sample the Olympic atmosphere at London 2012 had left her desperate for a slice of the action.

"This is my first time in the Olympic Park so it's been pretty amazing and to get to watch the 200m heats was even more special," said Papps, who benefits from being a member of the SPAR Sprint stars programme.

"I'm a sprinter so it was really inspiring to watch guys like Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, they are just on another level.

"Just being there makes me want to get out there and run, it's really exciting.

"To have an Olympics is a massive deal for British sport and I really think the 'inspire a generation' tagline is working.

"After watching that I'm desperate to get out on to a track, I want to train more and do more because when I see what these people are achieving and the roar in the stadium, I just think I want to be out there. That feeling must be amazing."

To be the sixth fastest junior sprinter in the world is no mean achievement but for Papps, who had targeted a podium place, her experience in Barcelona was something of a disappointment.

But the youngster is already looking ahead to next season and the European Junior Championships confident that she is a vastly improved athlete from the one who went out to Spain in July.

"I don't think I really did myself justice in Barcelona but sixth in the world is not bad," she added.

"I learnt a lot, I had done a few international competitions but never on the world stage so I came back a lot more mentally mature in an athletics sense.

"Next year I want to make the team for the Europeans, I'm looking at possibly targeting the 200m rather than the 100m, but that's my main goal.

"I'm taking everything one step at a time through the age groups rather than jumping up and getting ahead of myself.

"It's more important to me that it's gradual with Rio 2016 as the ultimate goal when I will be 22 and hopefully coming into my prime."

Brought to you by SPAR, Official Sponsors of UK Athletics. For more information visit

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