Rees faces uphill fight for place at under-23s in Sweden

Alisha Rees.
Alisha Rees.

North-east sprinter Alisha Rees admits her European under-23 championship aspirations are on the line if she doesn’t hit top form in next weekend’s Great Britain team trials at Bedford.

The Banchory Stonehaven AC runner is currently based at Loughborough University where she is studying for a degree in sociology and is being coached there by former Commonwealth Games 200m champion Leon Baptiste.

Her main target for the first half of the season was to get to July’s Euro event in Sweden where she hoped to win a medal in the 200m.

But a hamstring injury in March curtailed her training and she has taken longer than expected to get back into her stride.

Despite this, Rees isn’t too far away from reaching the level she needs to be at, but time isn’t on her side.

The 20-year-old four-time Scottish senior women’s 200m champion has been running well over 100m, coming very close to her best when clocking 11.61secs – the fastest by a Scot this year – to win at a UK women’s league meeting last weekend.

Her favoured event, however, is the 200m and Rees is concerned she’s not quite firing on all cylinders yet.

She finished second over that distance in the UK league match, recording 23.97, which is short of the 23.40 Euro qualifying standard.

Rees said: “It’s really weird. My 100m last week was really good and I was pleased with it so I was expecting to go and run fast in the 200m, especially as conditions were good.

“But it didn’t happen and it’s very disappointing. I’m just not up to standard over 200 at the moment and it has knocked my confidence a bit.

“My target was to go to the Europeans and get a medal in the 200m. That was a realistic goal. I genuinely thought I could get the standard quite early in the season then go to the trials more relaxed.

“But that’s sport. Things don’t always work out the way you might want them to.

“The hamstring problem affected my training in March, but it’s fine now and I honestly didn’t think it would take me this long to get back.”

Rees certainly hasn’t given up hope of achieving her goal, but knows there’s no margin for error. To get selected she must finish in the top two at Bedford and get under the 23.40 qualifying mark.

She said: “I’m sure I will run under 23.40 this season, but time is running out for the Europeans. At the moment I’m not quite executing my races properly, but it will eventually happen.

“I just need it to happen next week.

“The team will be picked the day after the trials so, even if I win but don’t get the time I need, there’s no scope for getting it later.

“I need conditions to be good at Bedford, no headwind, and hope that everything clicks into place.”

Rees is a strong competitor and can never be ruled out, but even if she isn’t able to hit the standard for the 200m, she has the option of competing in the 4x100m relay at the Europeans.

She said: “The 200m is my main target, but if it doesn’t work out I always have the relay and that will be good because we can do well in that too.”