|HIGH HOPES: Francesca Steggall has made the difficult transition from juniors to seniors this year, but insists she's on the verge of big things |
By Ben Baker, Sportsbeat
ON PAPER Francesca Steggall's 2010 campaign has yet to get off the ground - but the judoka insists this year's back to basics approach will see her soar to London 2012.
Steggall waved goodbye to the junior ranks this year and has spent the time in transition swotting up on new techniques to help her find her feet in the harsh world of senior competition.
The difficulty of the step up was well illustrated at the GB World Cup in Birmingham earlier this month with Steggall - who fights in the under 48kg category - bowing out in the first round.
But despite her competition woes, Steggall is adamant the hard work behind the scenes will reap long-term rewards, at London 2012.
"The season hasn't been going too badly but I have been learning a lot of new techniques so I have been trying to put them into practice on the mat and that has been the main thing for me this year," said Steggall.
"It is quite strange being in that time between being a junior and a senior because you are sort of in between and it is a bit of a weird time. You come out of being at the top of the juniors to going into the bottom of the seniors so it can be tough but you just have to stick it out.
"London 2012 is everybody's dream at the moment and I am in the mix I think so hopefully I will be out there representing Great Britain on probably the biggest stage of them all.
"It is going to be pretty intense in the next year or so as everyone goes for the same spot and I will be going up against a lot of my friends. Still, I know what this means to me and I will be doing all I can to make sure I am in the best position possible.
"I think there are some good players that are showing potential so I think the medal hopes which we have set ourselves are realistic as long as we get our preparation right and I hope to be one of those obviously."
Next up on the agenda for is the European Under-23 Championships in Turkey next month with the 20-year-old needing to secure her spot in the team at the Swedish Open, which begins on October 30.
And despite failing to light up the mat in 2010 so far Steggall is adamant she can be part of a medal hunt in Antalya.
"I am off to Sweden at the end of October for a B tournament and then hopefully from there I will be able to qualify for the European under-23s which is the next big tournament for me," added Steggall - who as part of Visa's Team 2012 initiative Clark warmed up for her Swedish adventure by giving a judo masterclass at her training base at Dartford Judo Club last week.
"I have only just finished juniors this year so I still have a few years left in the under-23s. I don't think that it is unrealistic though that I could place in Bosnia and I will be going all out to do so."
Visa is proud to be Presenting Partner of Team 2012, a team of 1,200 athletes across the UK who are aiming to compete at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. For more information go to www.lifeflowsbetter.com
FONTE: More Than The Games