Injury and illness ruled Sale Harrier Kelly Massey out of the last two Olympic Games, but after eight years of frustration, the 400m runner will finally be at the ball.
Massey’s inclusion in Team GB’s 4x400m relay squad was confirmed after a fast split time in the opening round of the European Championships in Amsterdam last month, and now she has her sights set on an Olympic medal.
The 31-year-old was more than prepared to give up some time at home baking in order to feel a part of Team GB.
“It’s brilliant,” said the Coventry-born athlete.
“In 2008 I was injured, in 2012 I had glandular fever, so it’s almost like third time lucky – I’ve had a bit of bad luck over the years.
“Up until last month I did not think I was going. I’ve had a bit of a tough season, I knew the performances were there but circumstances weren’t allowing it to come out in races.
“Then I got the chance to run in the heats of the relay at the European Championships, I ran a really good split so I knew I stood more of a chance then.
“I only found out the day before the team was announced, then on that day I had to go to Birmingham and go through kitting out.
“I was only planning on making a cake so I didn’t mind missing that.”
Despite impressing in the heats in Amsterdam, Massey missed out on selection for the final and knows she faces a fight to get into the final relay quartet in Rio.
Whatever happens though she said the relay group go to Brazil in positive spirit after racing to gold at the European Championships.
“I’m a bit nervous, apprehensive and excited about the whole thing. We’ve got such strength in depth in the women’s 400m so you’re always wondering who they’re going to pick to run,” added the 2010 Commonwealth Games relay silver medallist.
“I just need to put myself, between now and then, into a really good position to make sure I am one of the girls that gets to run.
“There are races that I can go away and do, so I want to do at least one, maybe two, before we go to the holding camp.”
Massey’s early career was punctuated by relay bronze medals in two World University Games, while she was a student at Liverpool John Moores University, and subsequently Manchester Metropolitan University.
Over 60 per cent of British gold medallists since 1992 have participated in BUCS sport, with 56 members of Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics competing for Great Britain at the World University Games.
Massey will add to that statistic in Rio and she remembers her university athletic career fondly.
“I competed in three BUCS championships and in my third one I won it, so it’s a good experience of going through the rounds and having a call room,” said the 2006 champion.
“I then went on to do the World University Games in 2007 and 2011 so I got to the top level in that, now I’m proud to get to the Olympics too.”
British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, representing more than 150 institutions. Covering 52 sports, BUCS aids grass roots participation through to supporting aspiring elite athletes en route to Commonwealth or Olympic Games www.bucs.org.uk
Image courtesy of Visit Manchester via YouTube, with thanks.