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Beesley hits her stride at right time to reach final.

Byline: By Brian Dick

Megham Beesley produced the performance of a lifetime at the World Junior Championships in Poland yesterday to win her semi final and reach today's 400metres hurdles final as the fastest qualifier.

What made the Birchfield Harrier's display all the more remarkable was the fact she had to overcome a knee problem sustained in the heats on Wednesday when she clattered the second barrier and almost failed to make it through.

But after treatment and a night spent icing her leg she roared home in a time of 57.24 seconds, 0.09secs faster than she has ever run, to confirm her status as one of the brightest hopes for London 2012.

The 18-year-old from Polesworth is now assured of a good draw for the final in Bydgoszcz which takes place at 6.15pm British time this evening during which she will have to withstand the strong challenge of American favourite Takecia Jameson and Jamaica's Nikita Tracey.

However, Beesley's coach, Trevor Marsey, now believes anything is possible for the former Tamworth athlete who also won the Senior Indoor 400m title earlier this year. "It is not going to be easy but if she can run the final like she ran the semi she stands a good chance of winning some shade of medal.

"With the sort of training she has been doing through the winter she is capable of running 56 seconds."

After an outstanding indoor season and a positive start to her outdoor campaign Beesley's form had dipped in recent weeks with the stress of A Level exams proving difficult to combine with her pursuit of success on the track.

But yesterday's performance has changed everything. "Before the race she was a little bit downcast but we had a few words and she pulled out what I knew was in there," Marsey said. "She is much happier now and can't wait until the final.

"I wouldn't say anything less than a medal would be a disappointment, she's come here run and PB and has got herself through to the final. Whatever happens now she's done well."

Birchfield team-mate Jordan McGrath, however, was outclassed in the 400m final last night and finished seventh a full two seconds behind gold medal winner Marcus Boyd of America.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 11, 2008
Words:378
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