Gardener backs Child to impress at Moscow World Championships

Olympic gold medallist Jason Gardener backs Eilidh Child to provide a shock at this summer's Moscow World Championships

Olympic gold medallist Jason Gardener believes Bath-based sprint hurdler Eilidh Child couldn’t be in safer hands as she looks to shock the world this summer and make her mark at the Moscow World Championships.

While Great Britain celebrated finishing third at last month’s European Team Championships, no one was shouting louder than Child after a sensational individual performance in the North East.

The 26-year-old took more than half-a-second off her best in winning the 400m hurdles in 54.42 seconds – smashing her own Scottish record in the process.

This feat coupled with her reaching the semi-finals at London 2012 have been born out of Child’s decision to head south of the border and link up with newly-appointed coach Malcolm Arnold.

Arnold has coached the likes of Dai Greene to a world title, as well as Gardener to his 4x100m gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

And Gardener is adamant the pair is a match made in heaven as Child, who will compete at this weekend’s British Championships in Birmingham, bids to turn more heads at this summer’s World Championships in Moscow.

“Eilidh is working with my old coach Malcolm Arnold and I know that she is in brilliant hands – you only have to look at what he has achieved and also the names of his other athletes, Dai Greene, for example,” said Gardener, speaking at a Lloyds TSB National School Sport Week Event in Cardiff.

“Malcolm is so knowledgeable and will help Eilidh uncover the extra couple of per cent to take her another step forward – we saw that in Gateshead but taking something like half-a-second off her personal best – this is really incredible.

“When you are an international athlete and you have been around for a number of years as Eilidh has been, to take half-a-second off is just a monster in terms of a performance gap.

“So we are already seeing the effect he has had on her and who knows how fast she can go after Gateshead now.

“But it’s not just down to the coach and his expertise – she is also a wonderfully talented athlete and I don’t doubt that she can move to a new level and challenge the world’s best now.”

Captaining Great Britain to third place in Gateshead was Perri Shakes-Drayton, Child’s 400m hurdles rival.

Shakes-Drayton tasted victory in the north east but it was over a flat 400m, and while the Londoner still has the edge over Child with a personal best of 53.77 seconds in the hurdles, Gardener is adamant the rivalry will bring the best out of the pair.

“Eilidh really laid down a marker in Gateshead in the hurdles with Perri still running the flat 400 and those two are set for an exciting tussle ahead of the World Championships,” he added. “Who knows which of them will take the title at the British Championships?

“Perri and Eilidh are another exciting British rivalry that we seem to have now and that can be really important because if you look throughout history some of our best performances have come out of rivalries.

“Rivalries push people on to bigger and better and greater things and if you look back to Coe and Ovett, me, Darren Campbell and Dwain Chambers, Colin Jackson and Tony Jarrett – there were some great rivalries and it is really good for a spectator to watch.

“Not so much for the athlete because if you have a bad race then you lose your spot but that is what it needs to be like to create great athletes and these two have that now.”

Lloyds TSB National School Sport Week, Britain’s biggest school sporting event, took place from 24 – 28 June 2013. Support your local school and help continue to encourage more young people to do more sport. To find out more visit www.lloydstsb.com/nssw

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