Emma Pallant – Olympics 2012


Having beaten a recurring injury Olympic hopeful Emma Pallant is back on track and setting her sights upon 2012.

The 21 year old from Hampshire trains with Aldershot Farnham and District Clubs, as well as Brunel University and has recently graduated with a degree in physiotherapy.

The past year has been difficult for Pallant. She had knee surgery in 2009 but the injury has continued to dog her progress throughout 2010. She said: “after the knee surgery I was tempted to give up. I was on pretty strong painkillers and couldn’t see myself getting back to where I was.”

She spent time in the pool, cross training to keep fit: “I love running, but when it hurt I struggled mentally. Being in a freezing cold pool at 6.30 am was hard sometimes. But that’s where Kelly (Dame Kelly Holmes) stepped in, she’s had a lot of injuries in her time and understands the frustration and that helped.”

Dame Kelly Holmes has done a lot for the young athlete, and has been mentoring her since 2005.

Giving up is hardly a genuine option. “I started running when I was so young, it would be weird if I wasn’t running. I’ve always been someone who needs to be active. There is something within me that needs to burn off energy. I do a lot of sports.”

Pallant enjoys football, swimming, badminton and hockey among a host of other sports. Running is her true love however, “Pushing your body to the max is just such an amazing feeling, I can’t describe it – that feeling you get after a really good session.”

Emma has competed consistently in cross country and track races, taking first place in two 1000m races in 2000 at the age of ten, and going on to achieve a host of first place positions in races in 2001, including the Hampshire Country Championships and the Inter County League in Kingston.

The transition to senior racing however has been hard. As a youngster taking part in under 13 and under 15 races Emma was “pretty much unbeaten.” She said: “I took racing and success for granted; when people started catching up I had a couple of years of mental struggle.”

Emma got through the rough patch however and at the age of eighteen won the World Junior Championships in the 1500m distance. Weathering the storm has made her stronger, she says: “It happens to everyone, if you ride out the rough times you get through.”

Now, leaving the under 20 age group, Emma is beginning another battle with patience to get to the top of her game. Emma said “You can be top of the top on the junior field junior but you move to senior and you’re no longer the best or the one everyone’s talking about and you have to learn to deal with it. You have to be patient which has never been my strong point.”

Dame Kelly Homles is helping her along the way with the transition. She provides her with massage and nutrition advice and a grant which keeps her a good physiotherapist, strength and conditioning coach and physiologist. Along with a sponsorship from Nike, she seems all set to blaze her way to the Olympics.

Pallants gaze is now well and truly set upon 2012. Feeling fit, she hopes to perform well, “You can’t expect to get a podium place in your first Olympics, but I want to do my best. Long term, I want to keep consistently getting into the GB squad.”

The 21 year olds determination is plain, she has a passion for her sport which is clearly helped her keep driving through her injuries. “When it comes down to it, though, I love running and I’ll do it because I love it.”

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