Morgan Lake might be focusing on a single discipline again in 2018 but she has multiple goals, starting with the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham.

The 2014 world under-20 heptathlon and high jump gold medallist admits she’d still like “one last shot” at the seven-discipline event, but not this year. With things having gone so well for her in the high jump during the past few seasons – Olympic and world finals plus a 1.96m PB have featured among her triumphs – the 20-year-old is understandably keen to see what else she might be able to achieve.

“While I’m doing well in it, I want to just take it and see where it can go,” says the Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow athlete. “I do still want to have one last shot (at the heptathlon) but it definitely wouldn’t be this year. I’m not really in a rush to get back to it just yet.”

Her more immediate attention is on competing well to clear a PB height of 1.97m and achieve the British Athletics qualification standard – or place herself well within the rankings – to secure a spot for her second World Indoor Championships after Portland two years ago.

“I’m one centimetre off the qualifying height at the moment and it depends on invites and stuff like that and how the rest of the indoor season goes,” Lake says. “If I do qualify then, definitely, it’s going to be a big aim of mine. I know a lot of athletes from other countries are like ‘oh, 2018 is a quiet year’. But for us it’s huge!”

Already selected in the high jump for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April, Lake also has her eye on battling over the bar at the European Championships in Berlin in August. However, after placing sixth at the IAAF World Championships in London last summer, she is relishing the opportunity to compete in front of another home crowd, especially as her coaching set-up sees her train in Birmingham at least once a week.

The fact that the timetable will be dedicated to the high jump finals on the opening evening of World Indoors action on Thursday March 1 – with the women’s 3000m featuring later that night – just adds to the excitement.

“This year I have been doing a lot of my training in Birmingham, so to be able to actually compete there would be amazing,” says the Loughborough-based athlete, who cleared her 1.96m PB at the British Championships in Birmingham last summer.

“With the high jump being on the Thursday evening and the only event taking place in the stadium (at the time) – it sounds so exciting and I really want to be there.

“Obviously, I’m a bit biased, but it’s such an exciting event! There are some big personalities in the high jump and that makes it like a show.”

Morgan Lake
Morgan Lake
On the home crowd, the Fuzz Caan-coached athlete adds: “It really helps. You go to the stadium and you get to see familiar faces. People are shouting your name out in the crowd and willing you on. I think British crowds are also really knowledgeable. They definitely know the athletes and their performances.”

Currently balancing training with university exams, the second-year psychology student opened her season by clearing 1.90m in Hustopece, Czech Republic, on January 27 and says her chosen degree subject certainly plays a part in her athletics.

“Some things definitely transfer,” she explains. “I’ve found that being able to visualise and think about my aims – there are a few bits that cross over.”

Something else from which Lake has recently benefited is her promotion to the top tier of British Athletics’ World Class Performance Programme for athletes considered to be potential 2020 Olympic Games medallists. It’s not just the support which she appreciates, but also the recognition.

“I was really grateful that I moved up funding,” she says. “To see that British Athletics do have faith in me, that I could be a potential medallist in years to come. Having that support from the governing body is really important to me.”

But, first, securing her spot to compete in front of a passionate home crowd in Birmingham this winter would be another big jump in the right direction.

The IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018 will be staged at Arena Birmingham from March 1-4.

Source: Jessica Whittington| AW