Lewis backs Dartford athlete to bounce back after missing out on London 2012
11:47am Tuesday 19th June 2012 in Athletics
By Jamie Holt
OLYMPIC champion Denise Lewis insists time is still on Grace Clements’ side despite the Dartford heptathlete facing up to the prospect of missing out on London 2012.
The 28-year-old is yet to hit the Olympic A standard of 6,150 points – her best since the London 2012 qualifying period opened is just 5,755 – but Lewis believes her day will come.
Olympic gold medal favourite Jess Ennis, Louise Hazel and Katarina Johnson-Thompson look set to take the three available heptathlon places for Britain having all bettered 6,150.
But Lewis, who claimed Olympic heptathlon gold in Sydney in 2000, insists Dartford Harrier Clements must take inspiration from the likes of Ennis and come back stronger if she does miss out.
“The talent is there and that’s what I’m really pleased with,” said Lewis.
“We have got a lot of household iconic females in sport at the moment, whether it’s Becky Adlington, Victoria Pendleton or Jess Ennis.
“There are just so many women doing such great things.
“Everyone, no matter what sport it is, have so many iconic figures to aim for and aspire to be.
“It gives people like Grace the opportunity to say ‘I can be there’ and do really well.
“I don’t like to put pressure on athletes because to get to the top of your field you have to take in so much at major championship, it’s a huge learning curve and Grace is just starting that.”
Lewis was present at the opening of the new Holiday Inn and Staybridge Suites London-Stratford City overlooking the Olympic Park last Tuesday and the 39-year-old admits she wishes she could still be donning her spikes like Clements.
She said: “I’ve got a gold medal, so you can’t be disappointed with that, but it would have been lovely to compete at the Olympic Stadium.
“I’ll be there though. I may not be competing but I’ll be there.
“The process of getting to this point will be part of my memory forever and I can’t wait for the start of the Games now.”
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