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McLean: My dream of World Champs is over
A DEVASTATED Hayley McLean admits it is now unlikely that she will be going to the World Junior Championships.
The 17-year-old was left distraught after running the qualification time for the 400m hurdles at the trials in Bedford on Sunday, only for it to be wiped from the record books after track judges disqualified her for not clearing hurdles properly.
McLean ran 58.28s, well inside the 58.50s qualifying time, to win the under-20 race at the trials and the gold medal in the national championships.
But just minutes after enjoying the elation of the win and setting the time, McLean was hauled in front of track judges who informed her she had been disqualified.
An appeal ultimately proved in vain and McLean believes, with it went her chances of being in Barcelona for the World Junior Championships.
“There has to be written evidence that I have run under the qualifying time,” said the teenager from Stanford-le-Hope. “As it stands it’s unlikely I’m going.”
The selection for the Great Britain team heading to Barcelona has been put back a week until after this weekend’s Olympic trials.
McLean has been entered for the trials, but after an exhausting time both physically and mentally, she admits it’s unlikely she will compete.
“At the moment, I don’t think I’ll do it,” she said. “Physically I feel drained. I don’t think I could go through another competition and I couldn’t cope with being disqualified again.
“That is all that’s going to be running through my head when I’m out on the track.”
It’s not the first time this season McLean has been disqualified because of her hurdling technique.
She was originally pulled up by track judges in the elite race at the British Universities Championships in the Olympic Stadium before being re-instated after her appeal was successful.
Frustratingly for McLean, officials in Bedford would not tell her or coach Steve Mitchell what she had done wrong, whether it was her lead leg or her trailing leg which was the problem.
After viewing the race on video, both McLean and Mitchell are convinced her hurdling was clean, but it has sowed seeds of doubt in the teenager’s mind.
“I’m angry,” she said. “It always seems to happen to me. I feel angry in myself. It’s the second time now someone has said I’m not hurdling properly, so you sort of doubt yourself.
“It is frustrating that I wasn’t given an explanation of what I did wrong. They just didn’t want to listen. There was no emotion whatsoever. It just felt like we were wasting their time.”
For McLean that was the culmination of a day that emotionally went from one extreme to the other.
“I was in disbelief when I crossed the line after my race,” she said. “I had to double check the clock that the time was right. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
“I was having a joke with one of the GB team managers saying it’s great as long as I was not disqualified. I was half way through a TV interview when the team manager came back and said the track judge wanted to talk to me.
“I thought she was still joking at first but that’s when I knew something wasn’t right.”